A CROOK escaped custody in Essex and went on the run for four days...before handing himself in at a police station 235 miles away in Bolton.

Stefan Crompton fled through the gates at Basildon police station as they closed after he was arrested for drink driving, the town's crown court heard.

The 29-year-old was spotted by members of staff at the Tesco store in Maldon on October 31 last year, the court was told.

Staff believed Crompton was under the influence of alcohol while driving.

Police were called and officers watched Crompton, who got into a van and tried to drive away.

The officers quickly stopped him, and he was breathalysed and was over the drink-drive limit.

Crompton was taken to Basildon Police Station where, as he saw the gate closing behind him, he slipped from the officers’ grasp and ran through it.

Police officers gave chase but Crompton managed to lose them and went into hiding.

Four days later, as police were making enquiries with Crompton’s mother in Bolton, he handed himself at Bolton Police Station.

Crompton, of Fair Street, Bolton, went on to admit escape from lawful custody.

Interviewed by police, he said he went into a panic, thinking he may lose his job and that he had a new-born child.

Mitigating, Mark Stephenson said: “On this particular day he acted in a foolish and irresponsible way.

“There is some history of having high anxiety levels.

“That goes back in part to the loss of two people he was very close to in tragic circumstances. He doesn’t cope well in stressful situations.”

Judge Ian Graham banned Crompton from driving for three years and gave him a six month prison sentence, suspended for a year.