Prisoner escapes police custody at Royal Infirmary

The man escaped police after being taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Picture: Greg Macvean
The man escaped police after being taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A prisoner sparked a seven-hour police hunt after going on the run from police custody at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The man managed to travel almost four miles into central Edinburgh before being recaptured by police in the Pleasance.

At least 20 officers and a police helicopter were drafted in to scour the area around the Old Dalkeith Road, with homes and businesses searched in the hunt.

Locals say they were told to be on the lookout for a man in handcuffs, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. The 19 year-old was later found at around 10.50pm and charged with breach of the peace and perverting the course of justice.

Earlier in the day, police arrested the man following a report of breach of the peace, and took him to the ERI after he complained of feeling unwell.

He was reported missing from the hospital at 4.15pm, sparking a massive air and ground search.

Local residents said at least 20 officers scoured gardens and performed door to door searches near Edinburgh Royal Infirmary while a helicopter circled overhead.

People in the area said they had been told by officers conducting the search that they were looking for a prisoner who was still handcuffed.

Patients at the hospital said there had been a large police presence, with officers “going in and out” of the accident and emergency wing.

One patient said she had seen “about a dozen police officers” and several vans and cars in the hospital car park.

She added: “When we arrived uniformed officers were looking over walls along the main road.”

Alex Schipper, who lives close to the hospital on Old Dalkeith Road, said: “The police told me a prisoner was taken to hospital and he escaped.

“There was a very large police presence, probably about 20 and a lot of CID.”

He added: “The police said the prisoner was wearing a white top and blue jeans.”

The police questioned people living in nearby houses and came into The Royal pub, and Scotbet bookmakers on Moredunvale Road.

Neil McGinty, duty manager at Scotbet, said: “A policewoman told me a prisoner at the hospital had escaped wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans and that he was still cuffed.”

A police spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh were earlier undertaking a search in the Capital to trace a 19-year-old man who went missing at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

“Officers were assisted by colleagues from the air support unit and he has since been traced, and is safe and well.”

“The male had earlier been escorted to the hospital prior to being reported missing.”

“The 19-year-old was arrested in connection with an alleged breach of the peace and was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh after complaining of being unwell.

“At around 4.15pm he was reported missing from the hospital and search activity was undertaken to trace him.

“He was traced at around 10.50pm on Thursday evening and was subsequently charged with the breach of the peace and with attempting to pervert the course of justice.”