A convicted armed robber who escaped from prison earlier this week is being hunted by police.
James Beeston, 28, who is originally from East End Park in Leeds, absconded from HMP Kirklevington Grange, in Yarm, Cleveland, on Tuesday.
Police have not revealed how he escaped from the Category D men’s open prison.
He was jailed for 10 years in 2013 along with three other men who committed a series of armed robberies across West Yorkshire.
Terrifying footage of the four men terrorising shop assistants and security guards with guns, knives, swords and baseball bats during a crime spree worth more than £200,000 was shown to a jury at Leeds Crown Court in 2013.
The gang’s targets included the Gold Shop, Wakefield Road, Bradford as well as the Moreish Café, in Middleton, Leeds.
The latter raid was particularly distressing for guards who had come to fill up a cash machine.
One had a knife held to his neck and another was attacked before the gang made off with £108,000 in cash.
For the victims caught up in the attacks the psychological damage was incalculable.
Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, told the men: “The psychological impact on some of these victims has been profound.
“Decent hard-working people have had their lives blighted by these offences. For some of them life will never be the same again.”
Beeston is described as white, 5ft 8ins tall, with fair/brown hair.
A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “It is thought he may be in the Leeds area and officers are carrying out enquiries to trace him.
“Officers want to hear from anyone who has seen him or who has any information that could help them.
“He is not thought to present any immediate risk to the public but anyone who sees him is advised not to approach him and to contact the police on 999 immediately.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact officers via 101 quoting log number 975 of February 16 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.