CHANGES to the prison system have been ordered after two Thorn Cross inmates became the latest to escape from open prison.

A number of cases have been reported in the last few weeks including notorious robber Michael Wheatley, known as the ‘skull cracker’, and today’s news in Warrington regarding firearms prisoner Anthony Peloe and robber John Arnold.

Chris Grayling, justice secretary said: "Keeping the public safe is our priority and I will not allow the actions of a small minority of offenders to undermine public confidence in the prison system.

"Absconds have reached record lows under this Government but I take each and every incident seriously.

“I have already ordered immediate changes to tighten up the system as a matter of urgency.

"With immediate effect, prisoners will no longer be transferred to open conditions or allowed out on temporary release if they have previously absconded, and there will also be no unrestricted ‘town leave’ .

"I am clear that open prisons and temporary licence remains an important tool in rehabilitating long term offenders but not at the expense of public safety."

Warrington South MP David Mowat added the situation needed to be sorted quickly.

He added: “Two escapes a month is unacceptable and it is clearly necessary that the criteria for transfer to open prisons is looked at. “Chris Grayling announced a review last month and it is important that we act quickly to get this sorted out.”