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Convicted burglar Michael Williams absconded from open HMP Standford Hill on Sheppey

A convicted burglar who absconded from prison was caught a day later — peddling furiously on a stolen mountain bike.

And to make him more conspicuous, Michael Williams was nabbed carrying a prison-issue laundry bag, a court heard.

Michael Williams has been jailed for more than three years
Michael Williams has been jailed for more than three years

The 42-year-old inmate was a year into a 40-month sentence imposed for burglary when he walked out of HMP Standford Hill, a category D open prison on the Isle of Sheppey, on August 15.

But Maidstone Crown Court was told that the following morning he was seen in nearby Sheerness by a prison officer travelling to work at the same jail.

The guard then followed Williams until police arrived to arrest him.

Williams had swiped the bicycle from outside a house because "his feet were cold from walking'.

He also stole a gold bracelet, tablet device, a pair of sunglasses and a bottle of Jack Daniels from numerous cars.

Williams, previously of Morehall Avenue, Folkestone later claimed he was heading back to the prison to hand himself in when he was apprehended.

He pleaded guilty to escape and four offences of theft and was jailed for four months.

The habitual burglar had been due for release in April next year but will have to serve the latest sentence consecutively.

Trevor Wright, defending, said Williams, who lives in the Folkestone area left Standford Hill, where he held enhanced status, after being told about the death of a close friend.

"While he was outside the prison he realised he had made a fundamental error and it was time to go back and face the music.

"He was cold, hungry and had no money."

Read more: All the latest news from the Isle of Sheppey

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