Group 4 staff find escape impossible

AS YET another prisoner in the custody of Group 4 sprinted to freedom yesterday, the inability of two employees to get out of one of the security firm's vans should have been good news, writes Will Bennett.

But the incarceration of the pair did nothing to lessen the blushes of Group 4, which has lost eight prisoners in less than three weeks as an escort service.

The fire brigade was called to force the door of the armoured van, which was stranded by a roundabout in Newcastle upon Tyne, when the driver was taken ill shortly after picking up money from a local supermarket.

A spokesman at the store said: 'The man in the back had not been able to get out to help him. There is a safety routine but it seems they panicked and forgot it.' A Group 4 spokesman admitted a door was forced but added: 'We cannot discuss the operations of our vehicles but there are agreed procedures and the emergency services were called.'

The guard stranded in the back of the van was suffering from shock, but both he and the driver were released from hospital after treatment.

The latest escaper was Steven Elliott, 20, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, who fled from Rotherham Magistrates' Court after being remanded in custody on a deception charge. The Group 4 employee gave chase but Mr Elliott proved too fast.