A PRISONER absconded from prison and sparked a major police manhunt all because he wanted to try and visit his girlfriend.
Convicted burglar Christopher Fletcher fled Sudbury open prison in the middle of the night due to a yearning to see his other half, Stafford Crown Court heard.
A judge heard during the hearing how the ill-thought out decision resulted in a massive police operation, which saw the police helicopter and tracker dog used to help with the search.
The hunt ended after more than 15 hours outside the Albion Hotel, in Shobnall Road.
David Iles, prosecuting, described the moments leading up to Fletcher’s arrest by officers from Staffordshire Police.
“When confronted by the police dog, the court heard that Fletcher said: “Ok, I’ll come quietly, don’t let the dog bite me.”
Fletcher, 31, formerly of Victoria Crescent, in Burton, admitted a charge of escaping from lawful custody on February 23 this year.
Recorder Sally Hancox jailed him for a further six months consecutive to the 40 months he was serving at Sudbury.
The court heard that Fletcher had been jailed in March last year for a string of burglaries in and around the area.
The judge told him: “It must have been clear to you that police were out looking for you - you tried to hide from them.
“A police helicopter was called in to the action.
“You caused time and expense on behalf of Staffordshire police because they had to find you.
“You have admitted straight away your stupidity and the difficulties you caused.”
Fletcher was not represented by anyone in court and is now back in jail.
He told the judge: “I let things get on top of me and I just did a stupid thing.
“What I should have done is speak to somebody.
“I’ve just made a massive mistake.”