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Monday 26 September 2016

Armed robber 'taunts' police after being freed by mistake

David Kearns

Published 22/07/2015 | 07:54

Ryan Byrne posed for the photo with the police van on Saturday
Ryan Byrne posed for the photo with the police van on Saturday

An armed robber mistakenly freed from prison has been taunting police by posing pictures while on the run.

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Ryan Byrne (34), who was serving a nine year sentence for robbing a pharmacy with a machete, was allowed to walk free by staff at Wandsworth Prison in south London on Friday despite having almost two years left to serve.

The 34-year-old has been on-the-run for almost a week and has been posting photos to his Facebook account, taunting police to track him down.

The convicted robber has been pictured grinning in front of a police van and drinking in a pub.

Police released this image of Mr Byrne, who has been on-the-run for almost a week
Police released this image of Mr Byrne, who has been on-the-run for almost a week

He was jailed for nine years after robbing €5,400 (€3,800) from a branch of Boots in Ruislip, West London, in 2007.

Officers in Hammersmith and Fulham, west London, are looking for Mr Byrne, who is described as white, 5ft 11in and of medium build. He has blue eyes and a goatee beard, Scotland Yard said.

“Byrne was sitting in his cell having a cigarette last Wednesday when he was told he was free to leave. He couldn’t believe it,” a source told The Sun newspaper.

“He didn’t protest and has been enjoying his freedom since

Mr Byrne was pictured in a pub on Monday despite a widespread manhunt
Mr Byrne was pictured in a pub on Monday despite a widespread manhunt

It is understood that picture with the police van was taken last Saturday nigh in London’s Chinatown.

The pub pic was taken on Monday, the Sun claims.

Its source added: “It’s not his fault they let him out early. It’s hugely embarrassing for the Prison Service.

“What if he goes and commits another violent crime?”

A HM Prison Service spokesman said: “Releases in error are very rare but regrettable occurrences.

“We are investigating this incident and it is now a matter for the police.”

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