Violent armed robber absconds from HMP Kirkham

Wayne Whitley Image copyright GMP
Image caption Police have warned members of the public not to approach Wayne Whitley

A violent armed robber has absconded from an open prison in Lancashire, police have revealed.

Wayne Whitley, 40, who is serving a life sentence for a series of violent armed robberies committed in 2004, absconded from HMP Kirkham on 19 July.

Police said he has links to Manchester and Stockport.

Det Insp Robert Cousen, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), warned members of the public not to approach Whitley but urged them to contact police.

He said: "I would also urge Whitley to hand himself in at his nearest police station and to remind people that if anyone is found to be assisting or harbouring Whitley they too will face being arrested and a possible prison sentence of their own."

Asked about why it had taken nearly two weeks to alert the public about Whitley, GMP said officers had been making inquiries surrounding the disappearance since he left the prison, but had now decided to ask for the public's help.

Whitley's disappearance comes as the performance of more than a fifth of prisons in England and Wales was deemed to be "of concern" according to a report published by the National Offender Management Service, an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice.

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