Prison guards looked on with amazement as two daring convicts escaped from a top security prison in Leicester by climbing a ladder.
One officer said:
"It was like watching the circus. First they put one foot on the bottom rung, then they put another foot on it and raised the first foot. At one point they must have been 5 feet off the ground. My head was spinning just watching them. There was nothing we could do. It was like watching circus trapeze artists."
Having reached the top of the wall, the men ignored pleas from prison staff to return to the jail, jumped down onto the other side and scampered off into some woods. They remain at large and police have dubbed them the Human Flies and are warning the public not to emulate their dangerous acrobatics.
Prison governors across the country are holding emergency talks about the dangers of leaving a ladder next to a prison wall. The governor of one jail said:
"We often leave ladders next to walls. The wall provides a helpful buffer to stop the ladder from falling and hurting someone. But I've never heard of anyone climbing a ladder."
In fact, the Government is taking this incident so seriously that it has reportedly called a meeting of its special COBRA team to discuss methods to foil prison breaks using ladders. One suggestion being considered by Ministers is to remove all the rungs so ladders cannot be climbed.
Channel 4 is considering making a 26-part drama series called Prison Break Using a Ladder.
A man on the street suggested:
"Perhaps they should stop leaving ladders next to prison walls."