Echo, Saturday, July 30, 2011
Two failed asylum seekers are on the run after escaping from a detention centre near Lincoln.
Algerian-born Fehrez Belkadi, 33, and Egyptian citizen Waie Elbayoumi, 30, escaped from the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Swinderby.
It is believed the pair climbed the perimeter fence at about 6pm on Thursday.
Lincolnshire Police have conducted an extensive area search and have carried out local inquiries, but are yet to find the two escapees.
Officers are now appealing for anyone with information as to their whereabouts to come forward. Mr Belkadi is 5ft 6in, of medium build, with black hair, brown eyes, a white complexion and a clean-shaven face.
Mr Elbayoumi is 6ft, of slim build, with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion.
James Newall, spokesman for Lincolnshire Police, said: "There is no indication that either of these men are a danger to the public, but clearly they have broken immigration laws and it is vital we find them as soon as possible."
Both men are believed to have been wearing tracksuits at the time of their escape.
Morton Hall was originally used as an all-female prison before being taken over by the UK Border Agency and opened as a detention centre in June.
It has a total of 392 rooms spread across six residential units.
Despite allowing detainees unrestricted access to the grounds, the agency increased the fences and changed the perimeters to improve security.
After repeated calls from the Echo, both the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Home Office declined to comment on the escapees.
However, an inmate at Morton Hall, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Echo the remaining inmates were put on immediate lock-down after the escape.
He said: "It was just a normal day when all of a sudden the alarms went off and the whole building was put on lock-down.
"Then guards started coming to our cells and searching everything and everyone. But nobody knew what was going on. There were officers with riot shields and dogs everywhere - it was absolute chaos.
"I came to Morton Hall when it first opened, but I've never seen anything like this before.
"I don't know how anyone would be able to escape without help from someone else - if it was so easy to escape, the place would be empty."