PRISON chiefs have launched an investigation into how an inmate was able to swap places with his twin brother and escape.

Simon Maclellan, 27, was mistakenly allowed out from Winchester jail and then freed by magistrates in Fareham on Friday.

Prison officials realised the wrong man had been released hours later and raised the alarm with police shortly after 9pm.

It is believed that Maclellan pretended to be his twin brother Mark who is also being held on remand at the same prison on a lesser charge. The pair are non-identical twins.

Police recaptured Maclellan at an address in Fareham on Saturday night.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “There is an internal investigation taking place. The prison is treating this as an escape.”

Maclellan, originally from Gosport, is due to stand trial next month after being charged with grievous bodily harm following an alleged assault in Gosport in December last year.

A second man was arrested at the same address on suspicion of aiding and abetting an escape.

A 27-year-old man and a women in her 20s who were arrested earlier in connection with the same offence also remain in custody.