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Prisoner escapes into dense bushland while doing field work at NSW scout camp

ABC News logo ABC News 18/07/2019 By Ainslie Drewitt-Smith and Caitlin Dugan

a close up of a man: Sunjay Dayal was undertaking grounds maintenance work at the Mount Keira Scout Camp. (Supplied: NSW Police) © Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sunjay Dayal was undertaking grounds maintenance work at the Mount Keira Scout Camp. (Supplied: NSW Police) Police are hunting for an inmate who escaped during a work assignment at a scout camp in New South Wales.

Sunjay Dayal was undertaking grounds maintenance work at the Mount Keira Scout Camp in the Illawarra region, when he failed to return for the midday role call on Wednesday.

He was among nine inmates from the Illawarra Reintegration Centre and a Corrective Services supervisor working at the site, surrounded by dense bushland.

"The 35-year-old was present at the 10.30am muster, but was unaccounted for at the 11.50am muster," a spokesperson for Corrective Services New South Wales said.

"NSW Police were immediately notified and investigations into the man's whereabouts are ongoing."

Mr Dayal is serving a 15-month sentence for an assault offence and is eligible for parole in January 2020.

A spokesperson for New South Wales Police said officers now have leads on the prisoner's whereabouts.

"Police believe he may have headed in the direction of south-west Sydney, and officers are now searching the area on foot," the spokesperson said.

"Mr Dayal is described as being of Indian Sub-Continental appearance, 170cm tall, of thin build with black hair and brown eyes."

Police have warned members of the public not to approach the escapee but to call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

'No escape risk': corrective services

The Illawarra Reintegration Centre opened in June 2017 and Corrective Services New South Wales Commissioner Peter Severin worked to assure the community no prisoners would escape.

"The people that will be here are all assessed as presenting absolutely no escape risk," Mr Severin said.

"Of course, we need to maintain a very careful eye on people.

"Safety is absolutely paramount, and the community can be rest assured we are not going to lower the bar here.

"We will maintain a very safe and secure environment."

Scout camp not affected

Prisoners have been completing ground maintenance work at the Mount Keira Scout Camp on a weekly basis since November, 2017.

"We've had no issued up until yesterday," Scout Camp Chairman Ron Critcher said.

"All of the guys who do come up do a great job and have been no problem to us over the time."

Mr Citcher said no school holiday activities were underway at the time the prisoner escaped from duty.

"Our normal work group was there as well as the corrective services people," he said.

"But the camp was actually closed at the time."

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