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Violent robber missing from prison

A violent robber has gone missing - the latest in a series of prisoners to have recently gone on the run from an open jail.

Simon Rhodes-Butler, 37, was jailed for seven years in September 2011 for a robbery on a garage owner in south London.

Sussex Police said he absconded from Category D HMP Ford open prison in West Sussex on May 22 and efforts to find him in the past week have failed.

Members of the public have been warned not to approach Rhodes-Butler - who has friends and family in London - but to call 999 immediately.

Rhodes-Butler and accomplice Ilyas Ismal attacked and robbed a garage owner of his Rolex watch in south Norwood in March 2011, according to reports at the time.

Croydon Crown Court heard that the owner of the mechanics garage feared for his life after the pair walked in and wrestled him to the ground.

The two men fled and after abandoning their car, they ran into the car park of a block of flats but were arrested within 15 minutes of the raid.

Police appealed for any information about the whereabouts of Rhodes-Butler, originally of Offord Road, Tottenham, north London.

Pc Steve Reed, of Sussex Police, said: "We have been looking for Rhodes-Butler for a week but without success so far.

"We need to speak to anyone who might have an idea where he could be or where he has been staying."

A string of criminals have gone on the run from open prisons recently. The most high-profile was Michael Wheatley, 55, dubbed the Skull Cracker.

He was jailed for life this week for a raid on a building society while on the run from HMP Standford Hill in Kent, the second time he has been jailed for holding up the same branch.

His case sparked a political row over the day release of dangerous criminals. Anyone with information about Rhodes-Butler should call Sussex Police on 101.


From Belfast Telegraph