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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Burglar flees jail in laundry van
A convicted burglar escaped from a jail in a laundry van to visit his sick mother, a court has been told.

Alvin Harvey, 30, used the metal edge of a lighter to cut his way through the canvas of a prison service lorry at The Verne Prison in Portland, Dorset.

A court heard Harvey took a taxi to see his mother in Aldershot, Hampshire, who has a shadow on her lung.

He pleaded guilty to escaping from custody, criminal damage and making off without paying the 120 taxi fare.

'Very foolish'

Dorchester Crown Court heard Harvey had been told about his mother's condition in a letter from his sister.

Tim Shorter, defending, said: "He took an opportunity to escape.

"He went to see his mother. She was extremely angry with him and he realised he was very foolish and within a relatively short period of time he gave himself up."

The taxi driver recognised Harvey from media reports and contacted police.

Harvey gave himself up at Woking police station in Surrey on 11 August - two days after he escaped.

Judge Keith Bassingthwaighte sentenced Harvey to eight months, to run concurrently with his current sentence for burglary.

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