A MAN currently on the run after absconding from a Warrington prison was in jail for conspiring to smuggle guns into the country from America.

Police issued an urgent appeal for information regarding the whereabouts of Joseph Halsall yesterday, Monday, after he escaped from HM Prison Thorn Cross.

The 25-year-old was last seen at the Appleton Thorn prison at 4.30am on Monday morning.

It is believed that he could be trying to make his way back to the Liverpool area, where he is originally from, and he may try to get a lift.

Halsall was jailed back in 2018 after he and two accomplices arranged the importation of guns, attachments and ammunition from the USA.

On their arrival into Liverpool, he and co-conspirators Daniel Humphreys and Josh Ali planned to sell the weapons to other criminals operating in the area.

But the guns, hidden inside a guitar amplifier, were found by law enforcement officers in America.

Following his arrest, Halsall pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to import and sell or transfer prohibited firearms and conspiracy to import and possess ammunition.

He was jailed for eight years and eight months, as was his accomplices.

HMP Thorn Cross is a men’s open prison, where prisoners are trusted to complete their sentences with minimal supervision and perimeter security.

Warrington Guardian: HM Prison Thorn Cross in Appleton Thorn (Image: Google Maps)HM Prison Thorn Cross in Appleton Thorn (Image: Google Maps)

They are often not locked up in their prison cells and may be permitted to take up jobs while serving their sentence.

Open prisons form part of a rehabilitation plan for prisoners moved from closed prisons who are considered to pose a ‘low risk’ to members of the public.

The search for Halsall continues, and officers are urging anyone with any information as to his whereabouts to call the police.

Inspector Christian Morris said: “We are doing everything we can to locate him, and there are a number of enquiries ongoing in the local area and further afield.

“I would ask anyone with any information as to his whereabouts to please get in touch.

“While we do not believe that Halsall poses a risk to the public, anyone who sees him is urged not to approach him but to call 999 as soon as possible.”

He is described as white, 6’ tall, of slim build with short brown hair and blue eyes.

He was last seen wearing black trainers, dark coloured jeans and a grey long sleeve zip top with a dark blue long sleeve top underneath.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting IML 956123.

Information can also be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.