James Hatts

Three escape in Newington Causeway prison van hijack

Three prisoners escaped in SE1 after a van carrying inmates from Brixton prison to the Inner London Crown Court was at the centre of a hijack attempt on Tuesday morning.

Escaped: L-R Clifford Hobbs, Noel Cunningham and Tony Peters

Police were called to the Inner London Crown Court – at the junction of Newington Causeway and Avonmouth Street – just after 9am on Tuesday where three male prisoners had escaped from a Securicor prison transport van.

The prisoners were all being taken from Brixton prison for court appearances at the Inner London Crown Court.

The van driver was shot in the knee with a shotgun through the door of the white Securicor van and his colleague was pistol-whipped.

Prisoners Tony Peters (41, accused of robbery), Clifford Hobbs (43, accused of theft and conspiracy) and Noel Cunningham (41, accused of theft and conspiracy) escaped when men dressed as postmen attacked the van.

There were seven other prisoners inside the van who did not escape, reports LBC News 1152.

At this early stage it is believed the prison van was ambushed by two men on foot. The driver of the prison van was shot in the leg by one of the suspects. The security guard travelling in the rear of the van was pistol-whipped across his face. It is not yet known if both of the suspects were in possession of firearms.

Three prisoners escaped from the rear of the van and with the two suspects ran away on foot in the direction of Newington Gardens.

The two security guards were taken by ambulance to St Thomas' Hospital where their condition is not life threatening.

The scene of the incident has been cordoned off and is being forensically examined.

Hobbs and Cunningham are co-defendants. They were due to appear at the ILCC for a pleas and directions hearing in connection with conspiracy to steal 1.25million from a security van in 2002.

Tony Peters has now surrendered himself to police and is in custody at a South-East London police station.

The two suspects are described as a man of black or Arabic appearance, and another man described as white, chubby, possibly mid 20s, with a cockney accent.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information to contact the Flying Squad at Tower Bridge on 020 7407 6319 or, if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police are also appealing for anyone who has CCTV in the area to contact the Flying Squad at Tower Bridge.

Securicor have offered a 50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the escapees.

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