John Anslow escape: Reward offered for information

John Anslow John Anslow is the first category A prisoner to escape custody in more than 17 years

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A £10,000 reward for information is being offered by police investigating the escape of a man from a prison van.

John Anslow, 31, from Tipton and described as "dangerous", fled when the van was ambushed near Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, on Monday.

Mr Anslow, who was on his way to court in Stafford, was charged with murder last week.

The force said its investigation was "moving quickly". A man, aged 44, has been arrested over the incident.

Police said the man, also from the Tipton area in the West Midlands, was held on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Det Supt Martin Evans, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Our investigation into finding escaped prisoner John Anslow is continuing to move quickly as we follow several lines of inquiry.

"Staffordshire Police is offering a £10,000 reward for information that leads to Anslow's arrest and return to prison.

"We're hoping this sizeable reward will encourage those who know where Anslow might be to come forward."

Balaclava-clad

Police are liaising with other forces, the UK Border Agency and foreign authorities as well as alerting all airports and railway stations.

West Mercia Police said on Monday three balaclava-clad men, carrying sledgehammers, smashed the windscreen and driver's window of the prison escort van Mr Anslow was as the vehicles were in Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove.

Det Supt Martin Evans said they hoped the reward would encourage people to come forward

The men then fled in a silver Volkswagen Scirocco and detectives said they believed the group had switched to a silver Mercedes car in Stoney Lane, Bromsgrove, afterwards.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke described the incident, which happened at about 08:00 GMT on Monday, as a "well-orchestrated armed ambush".

Mr Evans said on Tuesday said that several calls were made to the incident room about possible sightings of the Mercedes after the force's appeal the day before.

The Scirocco, with the number plate BT59 NXC, was found abandoned a short distance from the scene, Mr Evans said.

He added that he wanted to remind the public that Mr Anslow, the first category A prisoner to escape custody in more than 17 years, was "very dangerous".

"Anyone who sees him should not approach him but should ring 999 immediately," he said.

"We're directly appealing to friends or associates of Anslow who know where he might be to ring the incident room."

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