French prisoner recaptured after giving guards the slip

A prisoner who slipped away from French guards during a forest excursion by pretending to answer the call of nature has been recaptured, prosecutors south of Paris said on Thursday.

The man, one of two who escaped in the same incident earlier this month, was picked up late on Wednesday at a known drug-dealing spot northeast of the capital, said Gregoire Dulin, chief prosecutor in Evry.

A police source said he was in possession of cannabis resin and several hundred euros in cash.

The recaptured prisoner had been jailed for drug offences until 2024, and is now under arrest for both jailbreak and drug dealing.

Dulin said officers were “still looking” for the second escapee, who had been jailed until 2026 for assault and flashing.

The two men had escaped from the vast Fleury-Merogis prison during a running race organised by guards in the Fontainebleau forest south of Paris.

Pretending they urgently needed to relieve themselves, the two men simply vanished into the woods, a source familiar with the case said.

Another prisoner escaped from Fleury-Merogis in June using an outdoor lift set up for construction work but was captured a few hours later.

The jail — Europe’s largest — was holding 3,922 people on August 1 in space designed for 2,850, an occupation rate of almost 140 percent, according to justice ministry figures.