A CONVICTED murderer has gone on the run from HMP Kirkham.
David Mitchell left the prison on Tuesday morning to go to a work placement in the town - but never turned up.
The 44-year-old is serving a life sentence for murder after killing his estranged partner back in 1991.
Mitchell, who officers believe may have returned to his hometown of Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, is the latest in a series of offenders who have absconded from the open prison.
A police investigation has now been launched in a bid to track him down, and Detective Superintendent Andy Murphy said: “I would appeal to anyone who knows where David Mitchell is to come forward and contact the police immediately.
“At this stage I do not believe members of the public are at risk but it is important he is located and returned to custody as soon as possible.
“If anyone has any information I would appeal to them to get in touch.
“Even the smallest details could prove crucial as we try to locate him.”
Convicted murderer Lester Jackson fled the prison in March on his way to a work placement in St Annes and was on the run for nearly a month before being found in Barrow, Cumbria, while David Dickens – serving 10 and a half years for drugs offences – vanished last month.
Inmates from HMP Kirkham - which takes prisoners who can be “reasonably trusted” to serve their sentence in open conditions - are regularly sent out to work in the community as part of their rehabilitation.
Fylde Council recently employed two prisoners on their bin rounds and has also used them to clear windblown sand, while prisoners regularly help Kirkham Town Council with jobs.
Coun Elaine Silverwood, town and borough councillor and chairman of the Kirkham and Wesham Business Group, said: “We have a very good relationship with Kirkham Prison.
“The town council have a couple of prisoners at the moment who are helping with our open spaces.
“It’s really unfortunate this has happened but it’s not a category of prison where you need to live in fear of escapees.”
And Coun Liz Oades, also on both councils, added: “It is very difficult to speculate why he has gone off and the town council will of course be asking the prison for further information.”