Helicopter prison break foiled by alert jail staff

AN INCREDIBLE plan by two prisoners to escape Gartree Prison by helicopter was foiled by guards, a national newspaper reported this week.

The Daily Star on Sunday said two inmates were plotting to get out of the Category B men’s prison in an operation which would have echoed the infamous escape of December 1987.

On that occasion, a helicopter was hijacked and the pilot ordered to land on the prison’s sports field to pick up East London gangland boss John Kendall and murderer Sydney Draper. Both were later recaptured.

The report this week said the new plan was hatched by gang leader Mark Osborne and murderer Wayne Collins.

But guards at the prison received a tip-off about the plot and made them wear striped outfits, which are given to potential escapees.

They were then transferred to high-security prisons, reported the paper, Osborne to Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire and Collins to Full Sutton in East Yorkshire.

Osborne and Collins were serving life sentences for their parts in the murder of a cocaine dealer in 2009.

The report said it is believed they plotted the escape after having appeals against the sentencing rejected.

The paper quoted a ‘prison insider’, as saying: “Osborne and Collins were plotting to escape.

“They had built up a plan and had been raising the funds for the operation for months.

“There were suspicions they were still involved in drug dealing and it is believed the money from the drugs was to fund the escape.

“Word is they were getting outsiders to fly a chopper into the yard.”

The Mail contacted the prison this week but was told all enquiries would have to be put to the Ministry of Justice press office.

A spokesperson for the Ministry would not speak about the details reported in the national newspaper article, but provided a statement attributed to a Prison Service spokesman in response to our queries.

It said: “The protection of the public is our priority and we have robust prison security measures in place to enforce this.”