Escaped prisoner taunts police on Facebook

A PRISONER on the run from a Suffolk jail has made a mockery of efforts to find him by posting messages on a social networking site - even detailing forthcoming events he will be attending.

A PRISONER on the run from a Suffolk jail has made a mockery of efforts to find him by posting messages on a social networking site - even detailing forthcoming events he will be attending.

Craig Lynch, who disappeared from Hollesley Bay Prison as he neared the end of a seven-year jail term for aggravated burglary, has been at large since September 23.

Yesterday it emerged that the 28-year-old has been posting regular updates on social networking website Facebook - telling his friends what he has been doing and his plans for the next few months.

Under the name Craig “Lazie” Lynch he also confirms his attendance at a New Year's Eve party in Lowestoft and another party in Norwich in February.

He also left the following message on the EADT website at the bottom of a story about his disappearance.

It read: “Is there Not a reward out for the capture Of my namesake Craig Lynch. And how much for him. Also is there no fresh news or sightins as i am a pretty good private investigator and fancy investigatin this one due to him havin and tarnishing the same name as mine.”

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Lynch has connections to the Edgware area of Middlesex and north-east London and as a result Suffolk Constabulary is liaising with other forces in an effort to find him.

Last night John Gummer, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said the incident undermined the open prison system - but refused to criticise the police search.

“I think it's very dangerous to assume the police could easily locate someone through a social networking site,” he said. “We all know that one of the problems of a virtual world is that people can be very difficult to track down in the real world.

“However once again is does show that Hollesley Bay is being used for detaining people who should not be in an open prison because of a shortness of prison places that the Government seems unwilling to admit.

“Every time there is an absconder it undermines the confidence of my constituents - I will now be writing to justice secretary Jack Straw to draw his attention to this particular situation and highlight the damage that it being done by the Government failing to adhere to proper measures.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said Lynch's disappearance was now a police matter but claimed Mr Gummer's allegations were “unfounded”.

He said a prisoner would only be considered for open conditions after passing a thorough risk assessment and that its use was strictly limited to those who represent a low risk to the public and of absconding.

The number of absconds from open prison since records began in 1995 and that more than 96% of prisoners who do abscond are re-captured, he added.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police confirmed Lynch was still on the run and said the force had been liaising with officers in Middlesex and north east London.

She said his details had been logged on the Police National Computer and that routine checks were regularly performed at his known addresses.

"Because he has no links to Suffolk - other than the fact that he was in prison here - then these checks may be carried out by colleagues in other parts of the country," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Force - which is responsible for Middlesex and north east London - declined to comment.

- Anyone with information about Lynch's whereabouts is asked to call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or contact their nearest police station.

Craig Lynch's Facebook updates

- Yesterday, 1pm: need to get up and get motivated too man things to do.

- Yesterday around 4.30am: Is thinkin, which lucky girl will be my first of 2010!!

- Sunday, 7pm: mmm I just had a 12lb venison steak, roasted veg and chips. Bangin' meal.

- Saturday, 4.13pm: just nearly wrote my motor off again…ice everywhere. I went round the corner and ended up halfway on someone's driveway!!