Prisoner escaped on bike after nicking it from high-security jail's repair shop

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The lag was eventually caught about 45 miles away (Image: Getty Images)
The lag was eventually caught about 45 miles away (Image: Getty Images)

An inmate made a bid for freedom on two wheels after nicking a bike from the prison repair shop.

The lag managed to slip out of high security Bedford jail and evade capture for two hours.

But he was picked up less than 45 miles from his cell door after governors issued an alert over the escape from the category B prison.

Drivers spotted the man pedalling slowly along the A1 and called police.

A source admit­­ted: “We’ve never had anything like this before.”

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The prisoner – whose identity has not been revealed – was picked up near Borehamwood, Herts, and returned to custody.

Prisoner escaped on bike after nicking it from high-security jail's repair shopHMP Bedford governors were forced to put out an alert (Getty Images)

The insider added: “Most people would have jumped on a train and got to the other side of the country. It wasn’t exactly Escape From Alcatraz, put it that way.”

The 1979 movie is based on the escape of three inmates in 1962 from maximum security Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, US. They fled on a makeshift raft, but are thought to have drowned.

The pushbike escape last summer has only just come to light in a report into conditions at HMP Bedford, which houses 400 inmates.

Inspectors from the Independent Monitoring Board called the escape “a very rare event”. The bike was taken from the cycle repair shop, which opened at the jail last year and employs seven lags.

The report says the man escaped at 2pm and was appr­ehended two hours later, pedalling towards London.

Prisoner escaped on bike after nicking it from high-security jail's repair shopThe bike was stolen from the repair shop before the 2am escape (Getty Images)

But it says the escape “seems to be related to an unusual set of circumstances and does not represent any inherent failure of prison security.”

The runaway was charged with escape from lawful custody and had two months added on to his sentence. The Prison Service declined to give details of the man’s original offence.

But they told us in a statement: “Escapes are extremely rare and this individual was recaptured within hours.

“Prisoners who break the law will be punished – including extra time in jail when appropriate.”

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Stian Alexander

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