A prisoner has escaped from a Northumberland jail by secreting himself inside a Christmas card he was sending to his wife, it has been reported.
The man, Wendell Cripes, 29, was six months into a 9-year sentence for armed robbery, when he disappeared from HMP Acklington near Morpeth last week, shortly before a collection of Xmas cards were posted to his wife and family.
Once the prisoner failed to answer his name at Roll Call, a search was made of all known hiding places, before it was realised he had managed to escape, and police were alerted.
For days, there was no sign of the escapee, until an eagle-eyed postman noticed something peculiar about an envelope he was trying to push through the letterbox of the Cripes household in North Shields.
Bert Trout, the postie, takes up the story:
"Well, I wuz shoven' this ledder through the bloody door, like y'do, but the bastard wuz too fucken' big! Then I saw this leg. I thought I'd bedder ring the rozzers!"
Cripes was apprehended by several officers of the Northumberland Constabulary, and posted swiftly back to Acklington, where the Governor, Mick Lees, was overjoyed to see him return safely.
It's thought that Cripes effected his escape after taking advantage of a workshop in Origami organised by the establishment's education department.
Governor Lees vowed to investigate the types of educational instruction offered at the jail in the future, and said:
"We have a very good record with our mail. It's great to see that this very important item of mail is finally back where it belongs!"