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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 17:12 GMT
Three bailed following prison breakout
HMP Weare
HMP Weare is moored off the Dorset coast
Three people have been bailed after being arrested on suspicion of assisting in the escape of a prisoner from a floating jail.

Detectives arrested the two women and a man in the early hours of Monday morning after a convict broke out of a prison ship off the island of Portland, in Dorset, on Sunday afternoon.

The escaped prisoner, David Beech, 28, was serving two years at HMP Weare for making threats to kill and threatening behaviour.

Police are hunting him in Guildford, where the three suspects were detained, and freed on police bail.

Full inquiry

Beech escaped from HMP Weare, which is moored off the island of Portland, at about 1535 GMT on Sunday.

No details have been released at this stage about how he managed to escape.

Dorset police are searching cars as they leave the island in a bid to find him.

A Home Office spokesman said on Sunday evening that a full inquiry had been launched into the escape.

Controversial history

The Home Office says Beech is not thought to be a danger to the public.

The prison ship, Britain's first for 200 years, holds about 400 inmates.

There was local controversy when it was established to ease the prison overcrowding crisis.

It was towed across the Atlantic from the United States in 1997 to be converted into a jail.


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10 Feb 03 | England
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