Inmate has a beer break after blunder

Landlady: He's a nice lad, I've known him since he was a child


A prisoner wrongly released from jail walked to his old school friend's pub for a couple of beers before handing himself in.

Landlady of the Soho Foundry Tavern Karen Clifford said Lewis Harwood paid the pub a visit just after opening on Monday last week, hours after he was let out of HMP Birmingham.

Her son Darren Clifford, who helps run the bar, went to school with Harwood.

G4S, which runs the jail, said it had correctly followed its release procedures and put the error down to the late arrival of a court fax.

Ms Clifford said: "He was in prison for something he'd done, but he was also on remand for another charge."

She said Harwood popped in "now and again" to the pub in Smethwick in the West Midlands which is only 10 minutes walk from the jail where he was being held.

"He's a nice lad, I've known him since he was a child," added the landlady.

Ms Clifford said Harwood knew he had been wrongly released but had a bacon sandwich washed down with two bottles of Budweiser beer at the pub, before voluntarily walking back to the prison.

Harwood, of Rugeley, Staffordshire, was supposed to be let out after serving a sentence for a motoring offence.

G4S blames fax mistake

However, he was then supposed to be kept in jail on remand for an unrelated charge.

The prison carried out its pre-release checks but it is understood a fax from Birmingham Magistrates Court with instructions to keep Harwood on remand was not sent to the jail until 5.45pm on the Friday.

A G4S spokesman said: "In accordance with proper procedures we performed a 14-day and a two-day check on this prisoner's release date and both of these cleared him for release first thing on Monday [June 29] morning.

"The only notification we received of a change to his status was a fax sent by the court late on Friday [ June 26] evening.

"The prisoner is now back in custody and we have proposed to our partners in the court system that the way important decisions about offenders are communicated to the prison is looked at."

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