An escapee from Bedford prison made it as far as Hertfordshire on a stolen bicycle before being picked up by police.
The man is reported to have stolen the bike from a prison workshop in July 2022 and made his way 40 miles down the A1 towards London before being apprehended.
The incident was made public in the prison’s Independent Monitoring Board’s annual report published this month.
It said: “The prisoner left from the visits centre, although the exact circumstances are still being investigated. Currently, we are not able to comment further but, from what we do know, it seems to be related to an unusual set of circumstances and does not represent any inherent failure of prison security.”
An article in Inside Time, a newspaper for prisoners and detainees, said: “Escapes from closed prisons such as Category-B Bedford are very rare.
“The last time anyone escaped from a closed prison in England or Wales was in 2019/20. The few prisoners who escape each year mostly do so while on escorted trips outside prison. It is common for residents to go missing from open prisons but these are classed as absconds, not escapes.”
Following his recapture, the unnamed man was charged with escape from lawful custody and was sentenced to an additional two months in jail.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Escapes are extremely rare and this individual was recaptured within hours. Prisoners who break the law will be punished – including extra time in jail when appropriate.”