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Thirteen foreign criminals escaped from immigration detention centre


A major manhunt is underway after 13 foreign criminals escaped during a riot at an immigration centre.

The detainees fled Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre in Milton Ernest, Bedfordshire, following a row over access to a gym late on Friday evening.

Five have been caught but eight others, including seven Albanian men, are still being hunted.

It is believed that some of them are convicted drug dealers.

The riot is said to have started when 40 detainees - who are held at the centre while awaiting deportation - were prevented from using the gym.

A team of prison staff and a tactical response group were sent to restore order as the detainees used gym equipment to damage the property and grounds.

Bedfordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Karena Thomas said: 'During the incident, 13 people made off from the premises through the outer fencing.

'Five of these have been detained but eight others, seven Albanian men in their 20s and one in his 30s, are still being looked for.

'We are continuing to investigate their whereabouts to ensure the safety of the detainees as well as the wider public and wish to reassure people that none pose any risk to the wider community.'

The public services group Serco, who runs the Yarl's Wood centre, said the incident is now a police matter.