AN elderly couple were threatened by an escaped prisoner who claimed to have a gun.

The man conned his way into Jim and Olga Jones’ home in Over Tabley by saying he had been mugged and needed to use the phone.

But when he was in the house they say he swore at the pensioners, demanded their car keys and is said to have pushed Mr Jones in the chest at about 8.15am on Friday, March 1.

Mrs Jones, 74, said: “It was terrifying. My husband has heart trouble and I didn’t want another tragedy on top of this.”

The couple told the Guardian that the man then stuck his hand in his jumper and said he had a gun before threatening to shoot them. But no weapon was ever seen.

Mr Jones, aged 75, said: “He was a big strong guy who was getting angry and we’re a 75-year-old couple.

“To say the least I was shaken up by it.”

Mrs Jones said: “We gave him the keys and the phone and shut the door and he sped off.

“I was frightened to death. You don’t expect to be confronted by that. I was shaking like a leaf when we shut the door.”

The couple later found out that the culprit had escaped from Thorn Cross Prison in Appleton Thorn, Warrington, earlier that day.

Staffordshire Police said he was arrested later that morning in the West Midlands area by officers from Central Motorways Policing Group working with Cheshire Police.

The escaped prisoner was detained after a chase on the M6 southbound between Junction 12 and the toll junction.

Mrs Jones said the incident caused £6,000 worth of damage to their Seat Toledo which was written off.

They are expected to get between £1,000 and £1,500 from their insurers and are currently using a hire car.

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “Police were called to an address in Over Tabley, Knutsford, following the report of a robbery.

“The victim answered the door and a man made threats and demanded car keys.

“The offender then drove off in the car which was later stopped on the M6 southbound in the West Midlands area by police.

“A 24-year-old man was arrested and later charged with blackmail, driving a motor vehicle dangerously and escaping from lawful custody.”

He appeared at Crewe Magistrates Court on Saturday, March 2, and was remanded in custody to appear at Chester Crown Court on Monday.