Ryan Byrne: Robber accidentally released from prison taunts authorities by posting pictures enjoying pint

Ryan Byrne was supposed to be serving a nine-year-sentence after brandishing a machete at staff during a robbery

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The Independent Online

A robber mistakenly released from a high security prison just months into his nine-year jail term has taunted police by posting images of him enjoying a pint.

Ryan Byrne, 34, was freed from Wandsworth Prison in south London, after serving just a few months of his nine-year jail term after a violent robbery of a Boots store in 2007.

Along with his brother, Byrne and another two men stole £3,800 from the store and - wearing balaclavas - the four men brandished a machete and locked staff in a room.

After being mistakenly released – according to The Sun while he enjoyed a cigarette – Byrne has been posting a series of images online, much to authorities chagrin.

Photographs discovered by the newspaper show the convicted robber in front of a police van and enjoying a pint in a pub.

The Prison Service said it was investigating his release. Byrne is described as white, 5ft 11in and of medium build. He has blue eyes and a goatee beard.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said police were informed by the Prison Service on Friday that Byrne had been released in error.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “Releases in error are very rare but regrettable occurrences. The number of incidents have fallen significantly in recent years with figures down by a quarter compared to 2009/10 but every incident is taken extremely seriously and we are not complacent.

“We are investigating this incident. The recapture of this prisoner is now a matter for the police.”