Prisoner captured after tractor getaway

A prisoner who escaped from a Wiltshire prison has been caught less than half-an-hour after making his getaway on a tractor.

The unnamed inmate drove away from HMP Erstoke near Devises on the prison’s own tractor but was spotted 20 minutes later on the A361.

The prisoner stopped to change clothes but began driving again as police gave chase.

He was eventually cornered after being chased across a golf course.

“We automatically spotted that it wasn’t a generic tractor from a farm and the gentleman’s dress code stood out like a sore thumb,” said Nigel Stokes, who used to work at the prison and spotted the tractor.

“[He was wearing] standard prison stuff. His rough beard and prison hat made him stand out even more,” he told the BBC.

The tractor is used by inmates, on temporary licence, doing gardening work in the prison grounds.

Mr Stokes said he called the police and tailed the tractor at about 20mph until officers arrived.

“There’s a lot of humour involved in this, but the reality is it could have been a lot worse. It was a case of pure luck,” he added.

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