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Fugitive Stevie McMullen arrested and charged after escaping from prison van in Salford


A fugitive who went on the run after he was sprung from a prison van is back in police custody and has been charged with escaping lawful custody.

Stevie McMullen, 31, will appear before Manchester Magistrates' Court tomorrow, Greater Manchester Police said.

A £10,000 reward is still offered for information leading to the arrest of Ryan McDonald, who was freed by three masked men in Salford when he was on his way to court on Tuesday.

McMullen and 19-year-old McDonald were being taken to court when they were freed in Salford on Tuesday by three masked men, two armed with guns, who attacked the GEOAmey prison transport vehicle.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said that McMullen was arrested yesterday afternoon with two other men in a car that was travelling on the A6 in Lancashire, near Lancaster University.

The other two men, aged 27 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and were taken into police custody for questioning.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said: "Since two prisoners were sprung from a GEOAmey prison van on Tuesday, our officers have been working round-the-clock to trace these fugitives and bring them back into custody.

"We have arrested a 31-year-old man in the Lancashire area as part of this operation, but our efforts will continue to trace 19-year-old Ryan MacDonald, who is still wanted by police.

"On Friday, a £10,000 reward was put forward for information leading to the capture of these two men. This full £10,000 reward still stands for anyone who gives us information that leads to MacDonald's arrest and will be paid when he is back behind bars.

"I would ask members of the public not to approach this man due to the potential danger he poses, but if you see him then please call the police immediately.

"We continue to follow up on a number of leads but I would also like to offer MacDonald the opportunity to hand himself in, which he can do either by calling police himself, or by contacting a trusted family member, friend or his solicitor."

Shortly after 9am on Tuesday, a GEOAmey prison van carrying prisoners from HMP Altcourse to Manchester Crown Square was attacked on Regent Road, Salford, near to its junction with Gloucester Street, by at least three men wearing dark clothing and balaclavas.

The men had arrived at the location in a dark coloured Saab and threatened staff transporting the prisoners with a shotgun.

Five men - believed to be three offenders and the two escaped prisoners - then got back into the Saab, which was driven a short distance to Regent Road near to the M602 roundabout and abandoned.

It is believed three ran towards Phoebe Street in the Ordsall estate and two may have further escaped on a motorbike that was found abandoned on Thurlow Street.

Later on Tuesday a 28-year-old woman and 24-year-old man were detained at a house on the Ordsall estate on suspicion of being involved in assisting an offender. They have been released on bail pending further inquiries until June 26.

MacDonald was due to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit robbery and aggravated vehicle taking when he escaped.

His delayed hearing was held on Friday at Manchester Crown Court when he was jailed for seven years and 10 months.

The defendant, of Allendale Walk, Salford, had pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing.

MacDonald was part of a gang who targeted pawnbrokers in Manchester and Salford where jewellery was stolen in daylight smash-and-grab raids.

McMullen was on trial having been charged with conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to commit arson and other serious offences.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5237, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or, in an emergency, call 999.