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Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK


London's Burning star released

John Alford arriving at court for his trial

Actor John Alford left prison on Friday after six weeks after agreeing to wear an electronic tag.

The former star of ITV's London's Burning is among the first few thousand prisoners to wear a tracking device, which is about the size of a diver's watch and attached to the ankle.

Alford, 27, was sent to Pentonville Prison in May for nine months for supplying two grammes of cocaine and 12 grammes of cannabis to undercover reporters from the News of the World.

He was also sacked from his role as fireman Billy Ray, for which he was paid £75,000 a year.

Good behaviour

After taking good behaviour into account he was freed after less than three months of the sentence.

The early release tagging scheme is part of a government initiative to reduce overcrowding in prisons by up to 30,000.

Some 7,226 prisoners have been released with electronic tags since the Home Detention Curfew scheme started in January.

The system is estimated to cost about £35m a year but the Prison Service says it is still much cheaper than keeping inmates behind bars.

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