Calls for tough stance on prison absconders as police detain missing robber

PUBLISHED: 18:59 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 23:31 16 August 2019

Antonio Wells has absconded from Hollesley Bay. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Antonio Wells has absconded from Hollesley Bay. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY


Safety concerns have been raised after a prisoner sentenced for a string of crimes including robbing a restaurant while armed with a hammer has absconded from a Suffolk jail.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Antonio Wells, 37, was reported missing from HMP Hollesley Bay prison after failing to attend a roll call this morning (August 16), raising questions about the open prison and how those who abscond are punished.

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: "When anybody absconds from Hollesley Bay or any prison in Suffolk it is a cause of concern for the public and I understand why people have issues with the open prison and public safety.

"For people who do abscond or break the rules of their imprisonment they should be punished and sanctioned appropriately."

Wells, who has since been detained, is serving a four year, seven month sentence for robbery, burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and theft.

He was jailed after pleading guilty in September 2018 and admitted that he took more than £1,000 in cash when he robbed a restaurant in Ipswich.

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He admitted going into The Forge Kitchen in Duke Street on February 8, 2018 and demanded money from staff. The court hear he was armed with a hammer and shouted at the staff before they handed over £1,300 in takings. He also admitted robbing a couple who were in the restaurant at the time.

During the hearing at Suffolk Crown Court, Wells further admitted to a burglary at Bright Acres Hire or Buy in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, during which a power drill worth £600 was stolen, and a burglary at Coastal Building Supplies in Wentworth Road, Ipswich, during which power tools worth £1,440 were taken.

He also admitted taking a Vauxhall Corsa without consent. All of his crimes were committed on the same day.

He was sentenced to a total off 55 months in prison.

Mr Passmore added: "The role of open prisons is to rehabilitate prisoners. By the nature of open prisons, people will abscond, however Hollesley Bay has few absconders in relation to other prisons."

Wells is described as mixed race, approximately 6ft tall and of a medium build. He is balding, has brown eyes, a dark beard and tattoos on his neck, both arms and torso.

He is known to have links in Ipswich.

Anyone who believes that have seen Antonio Wells, or who has any information about his whereabouts, is asked to contact Suffolk police on 101.

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