A 'CAREER criminal' has escaped from prison after he was jailed for his part in a masked raid at a shop.

Liam Harbour was handed a four-year sentence for the armed robbery in January after police caught him at the scene wearing a grey dressing gown.

But, officers say he has now escaped from HMP Kirkham, an open prison in Lancashire.

The 33-year-old is now on the run and police have appealed to the public for any information on his whereabouts.

In a post on Facebook, a GMP spokesman said: "Earlier today, Liam Harbour escaped from HMP Kirkham where he should be serving a 4 year sentence for robbery and burglary.

"Help us get him back inside in time for Christmas.

"If anyone sights Liam or knows of his whereabouts, please contact police urgently."

Harbour was part of a four-man masked gang who raided the Co-op store in Tonge Moor Road on the evening of November 20 2018.

Armed with a crowbar and a knife, the men threatened a staff member before breaking into the shop’s office.

A number of customers were in the shop at the time, as well as two other members of staff.

But after police turned up, the other gang members escaped with thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes, spirits and money, leaving Harbour behind. Following a short chase, during which he threatened to shoot police, he was Tasered and arrested nearby.

Bolton Crown Court heard that Harbour had become part of the robbery following a row with his girlfriend and went to a friend's home under the influence of drugs.

The former Crompton Way resident who has a string of previous convictions and was described as a ‘career criminal’.

Harbour had previously pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a bladed article at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Stead said: “This appears to be beyond the customary offending for this individual. He was not the guiding brain behind all this.

“He fell into the plan, but it became clear to him that he was part of a gang robbery and that weapons were being carried.”

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 101 or use the Live Chat feature on www.gmp.police.uk.

Alternatively, to make a report anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.