BY LOUISE MALE AND DAVID BRUCE
A MANHUNT involving armed officers and police tracker dogs was launched on the outskirts of Leeds for a prisoner who absconded four years ago.
Police backed up by the West Yorkshire force helicopter sealed off an area close to Pool-in-Wharfedale yesterday evening in their search for 40-year-old Philip Luty, imprisoned after making a home-made sub-machine gun.
Today he was still at large after a search failed to find him.
The operation was mounted after Luty, jailed for four years for firearms offences, was apparently spotted by North Yorkshire officers in a car near Harrogate. Police pursued the car, but it was abandoned near the Dyneley Arms, at the top of Pool Bank.
Police searched the area, including several addresses, but Luty was not found.
Luty, from Tinshill, Leeds, was jailed when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court in April, 1998 and admitted manufacturing a prohibited weapon and possessing ammunition without a certificate.
Luty lost two bids to appeal against his sentence and went missing in 2000 after being given weekend leave from Everthorpe prison in Humberside. Luty was only weeks away from his first possible prison release date when he absconded.
Around 25 officers were involved in last night’s search in the Pool-in-Wharfedale area.
Kate Jacobs, 34, from Pool In Wharfedale said: “We hardly ever see police in Pool. To suddenly see all these officers with guns and dogs is quite a shock. We knew something was happening when we heard the helicopter circling the area for ages.”
Luty was described by a psychiatrist as a loner with a lot of anger, but there was no evidence he was dangerous.
A member of his family said at the time: “He just wanted to make a political point because he believes it is wrong to have a society where the only people with guns are the criminals. He could not harm a fly.”