Sunderland prisoner released by mistake is due back behind bars

BACK IN JAIL ... 'Thomas Campion.
BACK IN JAIL ... 'Thomas Campion.
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A BURGLAR released three months early after a prison service blunder was due back behind bars today.

As revealed in yesterday’s Echo, investigations are now under way into how Thomas Campion was allowed to walk free from HMP Northumberland – formerly Acklington – despite not being due for release until January next year.

The 35-year-old says he spent a month rebuilding his life before authorities realised their mistake.

Campion, from Millfield, who was being treated at Sunderland Royal Hospital for a chest infection, was due to be taken back to prison late yesterday.

The Echo understands he made the decision to discharge himself from the care of the hospital.

Campion was locked up for three years in 2010 after assaulting a cleric during a break-in at a vicarage.

He was released from jail on April 13 last year and went to live at a hostel in Sunderland.

Just 12 days later, he crept into a Sunderland University student flat with an accomplice and filled two recycling bags with kitchen equipment.

He was jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to burglary.

But a mix-up saw prison bosses at HMP Northumberland open the gates for Campion on October 7, allowing him to return to the city and his partner – even though he warned them that he was not due for release until next year.

It is understood prison bosses realised their mistake when Campion’s probation officer contacted them asking to arrange an interview ahead of his release date.

The Prison Service has since launched an investigation.