A PRISONER who absconded for a month while on day release from a Lancashire jail appeared before magistrates today (Wednesday, February 19).

Gareth James Yeoman, of Sycamore Gardens in Crook, County Durham, returned to the North-East instead of returning to Her Majesty’s Prison Kirkham on Sunday, January 19.

Lynne Roberts-Plowman, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, said the 22-year-old had been on a daytrip to Blackpool as part of the prison’s reconditioning programme to prepare offenders for release.

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Yeoman was sentenced to three years and six months in prison at Durham Crown Court last January for attempted robbery.

The incident, on September 30 2012, saw Yeoman threaten a man with flat-headed screwdriver and demand money, before hitting him three times on the head.

Orla Davey, mitigating, said Yeoman, who pleaded guilty to remaining unlawfully at large, had been too frightened to return to the prison.

“He found himself owing money to another prisoner and he feared for his safety,” she said.

“Unfortunately, these things do happen in prison. It is not a nice place and it is not meant to be a nice place. Measures are in place to prevent it but it still goes on.”

She said Yeoman, who has eight months left to serve, had committed no further offences while at large, adding: “He is fully aware he will have to return to a secure prison.”

Magistrates sentenced Yeoman to a further two months in prison, which will run concurrent to his current jail term.