TWO men who disappeared from an open prison have been sentenced to a further six months behind bars.

Dean Jackson and Damien Burns absconded from the category D Hatfield Prison, near Doncaster, on Monday, May 19, disappearing between a 4.45pm roll call and 7pm.

At the time, the police appealed for the public’s help to find the fugitives.

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Both were back in custody within two days, after being re-arrested in or near their home areas.

Jackson, 27, from Newcastle, was spotted with his girlfriend near a bus stop on Chester Road, in Stanley, on Wednesday, May 21.

Burns, 39, from Scarborough, was found hiding in a wardrobe in his home town.

Judge Christopher Prince ordered a report from the Hatfield Prison governor on how the men were able to walk free.

Now both men have been sentenced to a further six months in jail, having pleaded guilty to absconding from custody.

Jackson was originally jailed for a slashing attack at a Metro station in August 2005, prosecutor Chris Baker told Durham Crown Court today (Wednesday, August 6).

On being re-arrested, Jackson told police he had asked to be moved to a category C prison to keep “clean” from drugs, but had received no response.

He wanted to visit relatives and spend a couple of nights in a hotel before handing himself in, Mr Baker said.

“He had no intention of staying on the run,” he added.

Tony Hawks, for Jackson, said his client had been doing well in prison and he had been moved to Hatfield with a view to being granted parole, but his disappearance had made a complete mess of that.

“It was a stupid, impulsive thing to do. The egged each other on,” he added.

Burns was previously sentenced to six months in prison at York Crown Court.

Judge Christopher Prince said he would have sentenced Jackson to 12 months but there had to be parity, so he handed down a six-month term.

The sentences will run concurrently with the pair’s original jail terms.

Judge Prince told Jackson: “To what extent the fact you have escaped may affect your release date is not up to me.”

Jackson will also have to pay an £80 surcharge.