Prisoner on run after gun threat at West Suffolk Hospital

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Media captionDetective Chief Inspector Nick Bennett said the public should not approach Andrew Farndon

A prisoner is on the run after two officers were threatened at gunpoint on his arrival at hospital in Suffolk.

A man pointed a gun at the officers at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds at 18:50 GMT. They were forced to release the prisoner, believed to be Andrew Farndon, 26.

Police said they had begun a manhunt for both men, who ran off.

Officers were alerted by hospital staff who could see a man with a gun outside the accident and emergency department.

They said the man was pointing the weapon at two prison officers.

Run away

Moments later, police received a second call from the prison officers, from HMP Highpoint, who said they had a gun pulled on them by a man who had confronted them as they arrived.

Both the prisoner and the man with the gun had then run away across the car park. No-one was hurt in the incident.

Farndon is described as white with a shaved head, and was wearing a dark blue baseball cap and a light-coloured jumper that was padded on the right side due to an injury to the shoulder.

He is a Category C prisoner, a security classification which means he is unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.

The man with the gun is described as white, in his mid 40s, around 5ft 8in, of stocky build, possibly with a Scottish accent. He was wearing a white top and blue jeans.

It is thought they may have escaped in a dark-coloured car.

Do not approach

Police said they had begun a comprehensive search of the area, including the use of the force helicopter, and are liaising with other agencies and talking to witnesses.

Officers are asking anyone with information about the incident or where Farndon is now to call Suffolk Police as soon as possible - using 999 if necessary for sightings, or 101 to pass on information.

Police are advising members of the public not to approach either of the men but to call officers straight away.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said it was a matter for the police, but a full Prison Service inquiry would follow.

Police are not linking the incident with the escape of category A prisoner John Anslow, who was sprung from a prison van after it left Hewell Prison in Worcestershire on Monday.

Three masked men ambushed the van, smashing its windows with sledgehammers and punching the driver.

The van was taking inmates from the prison near Redditch to Stafford Crown Court.

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