Concern as three inmates go on run

AN MP has renewed calls for an investigation after it emerged three prisoners had gone on the run from a Suffolk jail in three days.Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer claimed increasing numbers of “unsuitable” prisoners were being sent to Hollesley Bay open prison, near Woodbridge, despite Government denials.

AN MP has renewed calls for an investigation after it emerged three prisoners had gone on the run from a Suffolk jail in three days.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer claimed increasing numbers of “unsuitable” prisoners were being sent to Hollesley Bay open prison, near Woodbridge, despite Government denials.

He was speaking after police launched a hunt for three prisoners who all went missing from the jail over the Bank Holiday weekend - bringing the total number of absconders to seven so far this year.

He said: “I have no doubt that the Ministry of Justice has in fact been sending to open prisons people they would not have sent in early years.

“Open prisons are ideal places for people who are not a threat to any kind of security but they are not the right place for people whose crimes are such that they are liable to escape.

“The people who have to live in the (Hollesley) area have been very supportive of open prisons. They have been extremely willing to accept the occasional absconder - but three in three days is not acceptable.

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“It only confirms what I believe and what has been denied consistently by the Ministry of Justice.

“This is very serious. If they are sending people who they didn't send in the past then that's entirely against what they have publicly said.”

Ministry of Justice figures show 21 prisoners went missing from Hollesley Bay during 2007.

During 2006/07, absconds from the Suffolk jail spent an average of 67 days on the run before being caught by police.

An investigation by the BBC's Panorama programme found 14,000 prisoners had absconded from the least-secure jails in the last ten years.

Mr Gummer called last night for the Government to investigate the problem.

“I have to press this very hard. Three in three days is far more than there ought to be.”

But a spokesman for the Prison Service said the number of absconds from prisons was at its lowest level in ten years, despite an increasing population.

The spokesman said: “Public protection is paramount and all prisoners located in open conditions have been rigorously risk assessed.

“Open prisons are the most effective means of ensuring prisoners are tested in the community before they are released. “Time spent in open prisons affords prisoners the opportunity to find work, re-establish family ties, reintegrate into the community and ensure housing needs are met. For long-term prisoners these are essential components for successful resettlement and an important factor in protecting the public.”

n. Do you think open prisons are a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

PANEL OF ABSCONDERS WITH PICS

Ashley Christopher Grimes, 22, who was jailed for six years for robbery, was due to be picked up in Claydon on Monday night after being granted a temporary release licence from Hollesley Bay - but he failed to arrive at the agreed pick-up point.

Gary John Drain, 40, who is serving six years for causing death by dangerous driving, was last seen at the prison around 3pm on Saturday, May 3. He has now also gone missing.

Meanwhile Emedio Sesse, 36, who was serving two years for burglary, went missing between 6am and 8am yesterday.

Grimes is described as white, around 6ft tall, of medium build, with a shaven head and blue eyes and has a Mancunian accent. He has connections to Manchester and the Southend area.

Drain is white, 5ft 9ins, of medium build, with cropped hair, brown eyes and tattoos on his upper arm, shoulder and upper leg. He has connections to the Homerton area of London and several areas of Essex, including Little Dunmow, South Woodham Ferrers and Canvey.

Sesse is white, 6ft tall, of medium build, with dark short-cropped hair and brown eyes. He has connections to the Stoke Newington area of London.

Police are advising anyone who spots Drain, Grimes or Sesse not to approach them but to call officers immediately by calling 999.

Anyone with information should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or contact their local police station.

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