A PRISONER escaped because music played by his cellmates was too loud, a court heard.

Robert Stevens, 58, was apprehended at Coral bookmakers in Bridport after being at large for almost 20 days.

Stevens, who admitted a charge of escape from HMP Leyhill, a minimum security jail in South Gloucestershire, was frustrated with rap music being played ‘day and night’ by other prisoners, Dorchester Crown Court was told.

Jamie Porter, mitigating, said the defendant was also being ‘constantly pestered to purchase drugs’ by younger cellmates.

Prosecuting, Carolyn Branford-Wood told the court that police were alerted by a member of the public and, when approached by an officer, Stevens said: “Thank God you’ve found me, I was hoping this would happen.”

An appeal was published in the Dorset Echo following the escape on March 9.

Stevens was serving a six-and-a-half year sentence after being convicted of robbery at Bristol Crown Court in November 2011.

Miss Branford-Wood said the defendant had 21 convictions for 45 offences spanning four decades.

He escaped by climbing over a wall and walking several miles to the nearest town, visiting a number of other towns in the South West before arriving in Bridport, she added.

Mr Porter said: “Mr Stevens has apologised for his behaviour. It was an impulsive act on his part.

“It is quite clear he does not wish to commit any more crime.

“He was in a very noisy wing where rap music was being played day and night.”

Stevens had been about to hand himself in when he was recognised and arrested, he added.

Sentencing Stevens to serve 10 months on top of his existing sentence, Judge Roger Jarvis said the escape was ‘impulsive and opportunistic’.

He added: “The reason for your escape has been explained to me as your unhappiness at people who were with you in prison. I’m afraid that’s one of the prices people pay if they commit crimes and go to prison.

“Those who escape have to be sentenced in a way that is a deterrent to other prisoners.”