Tough punishment promised as 'dirty dozen' remain on run from prison

Kirkham prison
Kirkham prison

Ministry of Justice bosses insist offenders who abscond from Kirkham Prison will face tough punishments but are yet to answer questions over prisoners who remain at large.

The Gazette revealed yesterday that a ‘dirty dozen’ of prisoners were on the run from Kirkham – one man since 2000.

The revelations, which came as a result of a freedom of information request, prompted concerns from councillors and Westminster politicians with Fylde MP Mark Menzies writing immediately to prisons minister Sam Gyimah about the ‘unacceptable’ situation at the jail.

Despite repeated requests Lancashire Police has declined to name any of the 12 prisoners who remain at large having absconded between 2000 and 2016.

The Government department did however confirm those who take advantage of the open prison system face severe consequences.

A spokesman said: “Public protection is our top priority. When an abscond takes place, police are immediately notified and are responsible for locating the offender.

“Those who do abscond are returned to much tougher, closed prisons where they will have to serve additional time.”

Problems with absconding prisoners at Kirkham were highlighter last year when eight went missing in the space of four months.

Lancashire Police has been asked to make 10 appeals about missing prisoners since January 2015.