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Man bailed over prisoner escape

A man arrested on suspicion of helping an "extremely dangerous" murder suspect to escape from a prison van has been released on bail pending further inquiries, police said.

John Anslow, the first category A prisoner to escape in more than 17 years, was sprung from the van after it left Hewell Prison in Worcestershire, on Monday morning.

A 44-year-old Tipton man arrested on Monday night has been interviewed by detectives and was released on bail pending further inquiries tonight, Staffordshire Police said.

Police were earlier given an extra 12 hours to quiz the man, who was held after police executed five search warrants on addresses in Tipton, on suspicion of helping Anslow escape.

Three masked men ambushed the van, smashing its windows with sledgehammers and punching the driver, which was taking inmates from the prison near Redditch to Stafford Crown Court.

Two more homes have now been searched by police in the Tipton area, with property recovered from these addresses set to be examined by officers, police said.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has ordered an inquiry into how Anslow was able to escape from the prison van. Instead of being transferred in a high-security prison service van with a police escort, Anslow was with other inmates in a van run by a private contractor.

An international manhunt has been launched for Anslow with police liaising with other UK forces, the UK Border Agency and foreign authorities along with all airports and railway stations.

Anslow, also known as Skitz, is known to have strong connections across the country, including London, as well as overseas, police said. His status was upgraded to Category A only after he was charged with the murder of businessman Richard Deakin last week.

An appeal for information to help trace Anslow by Staffordshire Police on Facebook has now reached more than over two million people across the UK, the force said. Staffordshire Police is offering a £10,000 reward for information that leads to Anslow's arrest and return to prison. Anslow is described as white, 5ft 10in tall, medium build, with short, straight, dark brown hair.

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