FOUR men have absconded from Leyhill open prison in the past eleven weeks, the same amount that absconded in a single year during the pandemic.

Amongst the four that have escaped in recent weeks, one is serving jail time for kidnap and rape and another is a convicted murderer.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that in the year 2020-2021 a total of four men absconded from the open prison in Gloucestershire.

An abscond is an escape that does not involve overcoming a physical security restraint such as that provided by a wall or fence, locks, bolts or bars, a secure vehicle, handcuffs or the direct supervision of staff.

Police have sent four appeals since April 8 after the men escaped from Leyhill, the latest being two convicted robbers that  absconded together on June 13, they have both since been arrested.

A murderer who was jailed two decades go, absconded after failing to return to prison on April 7- he was recaptured a day later.

However officers have renewed their appeal for a dangerous rapist who kidnapped a victim and remains at large.

Sean Phipps, 51, has previously gone by a number of surnames, including Cawthray, Goldthorpe, and Perry. He was imprisoned in 2002, and absconded after failing to return to HMP Leyhill this month.

Phipps is described as white, about 6ft 2ins and, at the time of his release, was wearing a black coat over a blue top, blue jeans and Timberland footwear. He also wore a black Casio watch, blue glasses, and carried a vape pen with him.

Detective Inspector Dan Rowan said: “Sean Phipps travelled to Bristol city centre on Wednesday but failed to return to HMP Leyhill as required.

“At this time we are keeping an open mind as to where he is, but believe he could have travelled outside the force area. He’s known to have links with the Leicester and Leeds areas.

“We’d please ask anyone who sees Phipps to call 999 and give reference number 5222130002.”

Absconds are monitored to analyse the frequency across the open estate and identify any trends nationally also taking into consideration, the management of risk to the public. It is only possible to abscond from open prison conditions.