A man who was arrested five days after going missing from an open prison will appear in court today charged with carrying out an armed robbery at a building society.

Michael Wheatley, 55, is alleged to have robbed the Chelsea Building Society in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, on Wednesday while he was on the run from HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

He will appear at East Surrey Magistrates' Court in Redhill charged with robbery, possession of a firearm or imitation firearm and being unlawfully at large, Surrey Police said.

A second man, Kevin Perry, 53, of West India Dock Road in east London will appear at the same court charged with assisting an offender, perverting the course of justice and handling stolen goods.

Wheatley, from Kent, was arrested on a street corner in Tower Hamlets, east London at 2pm on Wednesday, just hours after he allegedly robbed the building society.

Witnesses said armed plain-clothed police officers surrounded him and shouted, ''Armed police, get down'', forcing him to the floor.

Wheatley went missing while on temporary licence from Standford Hill prison on May 3.

Police were called when he failed to return to the prison at 6pm.