Inmates flee from Argentinian jail guarded by dummy

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Two convicted armed robbers have escaped from a jail after guards placed a dummy with a football for a head in the watch tower because of a shortage of manpower.

The men, Walter Pozo and Cesar Andres, leapt over a wire fence before scaling a perimeter wall and fleeing unnoticed by the remaining guards. Prison workers said severe staff shortages meant they were able to man only two of the 15 guard towers, so they had to resort to using a stand-in.

They put a pretend guard in a third tower to create the impression that it was manned, a source told the local Diario Rio Negro newspaper, according to the BBC. "We've made a dummy out of a football and a prison officer's cap, so that the prisoners see its shadow and think they're being watched," he was quoted as saying.

"We named him Wilson, like in the film Cast Away, and put him in one of the towers," the man added, referring to the Tom Hanks film in which his character invents a volleyball character for company. He added that video cameras monitoring the area had stopped working months ago.

A prison official, Nestor D'Abramo, said Pozo and Andres had been nearing the end of their respective terms at the jail in Neuquen province and were housed in a part of the prison where fewer security measures were in place.