Ryan Byrne Wandsworth
Convicted robber Ryan Byrne was serving a 9-year sentence when he was released by mistakeMetropolitan Police

The Prison Service has admitted that a prisoner who was serving nine years has been released from HMP Wandsworth just a few months into his sentence - by mistake.

Ryan Byrne, 34, was serving nine years for robbery, burglary and theft charges. He walked out of Wandsworth last Friday evening (17 July) in circumstances which are still unclear.

A spokesperson for the prison service said: "Releases in error are very rare but regrettable occurrences.

"The number of incidents have fallen significantly in recent years with figures down by a quarter compared to 2009/10, but every incident is taken extremely seriously and we are not complacent.

"The recapture of this prisoner is now a matter for the police."

The Metropolitan Police in Hammersmith & Fulham have appealed for information as to the whereabouts of Byrne, who is described as white, 5'11", of medium build, with blue eyes and a goatee beard. In one picture he is wearing spectacles.

Wandsworth Prison
It is still unclear how Byrne was able to walk through the gates at Wandsworth PrisonReuters

The Met statement said: "Police in Hammersmith and Fulham are appealing for information to locate Ryan Byrne, 34 (02.05.81) who is wanted on recall to prison.

"He is described as a white man, 5ft 11ins tall and of medium build. Byrne has blue eyes and has a goatee beard.

"Byrne was sentenced to a total nine years earlier this year for burglary, theft and robbery.

"Enquires are underway to trace his whereabouts.

"Anyone who has seen Ryan Byrne or has any information on his whereabouts is asked to contact police on 101."

The incident comes a few weeks after Haroon Ahmed walked out of the high security HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire by mingling with friends. He was re-arrested after spending five days on the run.