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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
US police probe 'toothpaste jailbreak'
Wire mesh
The prisoner got clean away
US police are searching for an escaped prisoner who apparently cut through a wire mesh fence using toothpaste and dental floss.

Scott Brimble had been allowed into an outdoor exercise yard at Okanogan County Jail after complaining of claustrophobia, county sheriff Mike Murray said.

Child brushing teeth
Toothpaste is an abrasive substance
Wardens at the prison in Washington State raised the alarm when the 30-year-old inmate was found missing at around 0500 (1200 GMT) on Sunday, the Associated Press reports.

Mr Murray explained that Mr Brimble appeared to have weakened the fence using toothpaste, which is abrasive, and dental floss, before forcing the mesh apart and slipping through it.

Break-out plan

Okanogan County Superior Court has issued an arrest warrant charging first-degree escape for Mr Brimble, who was sentenced in February for failing to register as a sex offender.

Investigators thought Mr Brimble had been planning his break-out for about a month.

Mr Murray said prison staff were assessing the security of the recreation area and searching cells to ensure no other prisoners were planning similar escapes.

See also:

29 Aug 01 | Americas
Texas jailbreaker sentenced to death
12 Jan 01 | Americas
Warders blamed for Texas jailbreak
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