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Port Elizabeth - The four prisoners who escaped from the back of a police vehicle while being transported to St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth were on Thursday jailed for escaping from lawful custody. 

The four men were sentenced on Wednesday and Thursday in the Gelvandale Magistrate’s Court. 

The inmates escaped from custody while en route to St Albans Correctional Centre last month. At the time of the escape, the vehicle was travelling in Gail Road between Extention 5 and 6 in Malabar when the driver heard noises at the back of the prison truck. 

Police said that the driver saw prisoners jump from the top of the truck and flee into the bushes. 

The four escapees were all sentenced robbery suspects, who had been involved in robberies in the Mount Road and Bethelsdorp areas.

On Wednesday, Etienne Andrews and Marco Tiervlei were sentenced to three years direct imprisonment, with six months suspended for four years, while Justin Bramwell and William Kleinbooi were sentenced on Thursday, also to three years direct imprisonment, with six months suspended for four years. 
 
Police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said immediately after the escape, a task team was established and the group started their manhunt for the suspects. 

Naidu said within 11 hours, all four accused were once again behind bars. 
 
The Acting Cluster Commander for Mount Road Cluster, Brigadier Neil Jantjies commended the officers and members who worked assiduously  to ensure that the criminals were apprehended and once again behind bars. 

“The sentencing serves as a warning to criminals who have a blatant disregard for the law that they can run but they cannot hide. We will hunt them until they are where they belong – behind bars,” he said. 

African News Agency/ANA