Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber has escaped from hospital after he was told that he had been refused parole by Jack Straw.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said that he escaped when two prison officers guarding him were distracted by a nurse who tripped and sent the contents of a bedpan flying in their direction. In the ensuing confusion, Ronnie Biggs, then sitting in a wheelchair, made off in the direction of the hospital entrance and helpers bundled him into a waiting car.
Asked to comment, Jack Straw said, "How ungrateful can you get. If he had been a normal geriatric he would not have got the 24/7 attention he has been receiving. Had I allowed parole, the hospital would have chucked him out by now".
The two prison officers were later said to be "pissed off", but otherwise unharmed.
A PR spokesman for the hospital stated that they "were committed to providing the best possible care at all times for patients, and they regretted that a patient had voluntarily decided to discharge himself. However we are grateful for the extra bed".
All airports have been put on alert. Flights to Brazil are under particular scrutiny.
Local pubs in the area have been asked to report sightings of an old man with a furtive expression asking for copious amounts of real ale.