A fugitive who went on the run after he was sprung from a prison van has been arrested, police confirmed on Sunday night.

Ryan MacDonald, 20, and Stevie McMullen, 31, were being taken to court when they were freed in Salford on Tuesday by three masked men, two armed with guns, who attacked the GEOAmey prison transport vehicle.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said tonight that McMullen was arrested this afternoon with two other men in car that was travelling on the A6 in Lancashire, near to Lancaster University.

fugitive caught

McMullen was arrested on suspicion of escaping from lawful custody

MacDonald is still at large and there is a £10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

The other two men, aged 27 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. They have been taken into police custody for questioning.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said: "Since two prisoners were sprung from a GEOAmey prison van on Tuesday, our officers have been working round-the-clock to trace these fugitives and bring them back into custody.

"This afternoon, we have arrested a 31-year-old man in the Lancashire area as part of this operation, but our efforts will continue to trace 19-year-old Ryan MacDonald, who is still wanted by police.

"On Friday, a £10,000 reward was put forward for information leading to the capture of these two men. This full £10,000 reward still stands for anyone who gives us information that leads to MacDonald's arrest and will be paid when he is back behind bars.

"I would ask members of the public not to approach this man due to the potential danger he poses, but if you see him then please call the police immediately.

"We continue to follow up on a number of leads but I would also like to offer MacDonald the opportunity to hand himself in, which he can do either by calling police himself, or by contacting a trusted family member, friend or his solicitor."

Shortly after 9am on Tuesday, a GEOAmey prison van carrying prisoners from HMP Altcourse to Manchester Crown Square was attacked on Regent Road, Salford, near to its junction with Gloucester Street, by at least three men wearing dark clothing and balaclavas.

The men had arrived at the location in a dark coloured Saab and threatened staff transporting the prisoners with a shotgun.

Five men - believed to be three offenders and the two escaped prisoners - then got back into the Saab, which was driven a short distance to Regent Road near to the M602 roundabout and abandoned.

It is believed three ran towards Phoebe Street in the Ordsall estate and two may have further escaped on a motorbike that was found abandoned on Thurlow Street.

On Tuesday, April 30 a 28-year-old woman and 24-year-old man were detained at a house on the Ordsall estate on suspicion of being involved in assisting an offender. They have been released on bail pending further inquiries until June 26.

MacDonald was due to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit robbery and aggravated vehicle taking when he escaped.

His delayed hearing was held on Friday at Manchester Crown Court as he was jailed for seven years and 10 months.

The defendant, of Allendale Walk, Salford, had pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing.

MacDonald was part of a gang who targeted pawnbrokers in Manchester and Salford where jewellery was stolen in daylight smash-and-grab raids.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said on Friday: "It is unfortunate that MacDonald wasn't present today to see this sentence being passed down but we will track him down and find him to ensure that he does get his day in the dock.

"The offences for which he has been sentenced today only underline just how dangerous he is. So I would like to continue my plea to anyone who has information on his whereabouts to call us.

"This man has no place on our streets and will not be allowed to undermine the work we have done in Salford to help make people feel safe.

"Anyone who sees MacDonald is not to approach him but call the police."

McMullen was on trial having been charged with conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to commit arson and other serious offences.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5237, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or, in an emergency, call 999.