A CONVICT walked out of an open prison because he preferred conditions in a more secure jail.

Gary Spilsbury went on the run and was found by police, two days later, hiding behind a sofa at his son’s home in Tudor Court, Bolton.

At Bolton Crown Court Spilsbury, formerly of Wasdale Avenue, Breightmet, pleaded guilty to escaping from HMP Kirkham.

Had two months added to the nine and a half year jail term he is already serving for drug dealing, burglary and robbery and is not now due to be released until the end of February next year.

The court heard that Kirkham prison staff raised the alarm when they noticed Spilsbury was missing at a role call on December 6 last year.

Paul Dockery, defending, said that the prisoner had been transferred to the jail from the more secure Category C Forest Bank prison in August but was finding it difficult to adjust.

He did not like the prison as he could not get a job as a cleaner, which he had had before, and had not been able to obtain a licence allowing him to go home occasionally.

“So he walked out of the prison thinking he shouldn’t have done that and that the police would come for him and he would be taken back to Forest Bank,” said Mr Dockery.

“The explanation seems, at first blush, an unusual one,” he said, adding that Dockery had been planning to hand himself in when he was arrested just 48 hours later. Spilsbury is now back at Forest Bank, from where he appeared at the hearing via a video link.

Sentencing Spilsbury to two months in prison, Judge Richard Gioserano said he accepted the prisoner’s explanation for his escape and that he was on the verge of surrendering to police when officers called at his son’s home, one of the first places they were likely to look.

“You actually found the Category D conditions were not as favourable, in your opinion, as the Category C conditions,” the judge told Spilsbury. “It is not for you to decide where you would rather be. It does not give you an excuse to leave the prison at HMP Kirkham as you did.”