Prisoner escapes after tricking policeman by claiming there was a snake inside cell

A cunning prisoner outwitted a policeman and escaped in his cell - by complaining that there was a snake inside.

Play-acting prisoner Anan Komolwanit, 23, was arrested and held in custody in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Sunday night (November 18) after allegedly being found with dozens of methamphetamine pills.

The next evening the suspect began screaming and called for help, shouting to the on-duty officer Commander Ratchada Supawong, that a deadly cobra had slithered through the bars.

The hapless cop made three visits to the cell without seeing the mystery serpent. He even had a stick with him ready to hit the snake.

But on the fourth trip, after giving the suspect a clip round the ear, the cop looked again deeper in the cell. While he was searching, Anan moved slowly behind the officer then crept through the open cell door - slamming it behind him, locking it and leaving the officer trapped inside.

CCTV shows how Anan sprinted out of the station before another bungling policeman who was in pursuit then stumbled on a step.

More than 200 police and volunteers began searching for the fugitive who was later arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning hiding under a banana tree.

Lieutenant Colonel Wasuthep Konglon from the Sena district police station, where the escape happened, said the suspect was caught after he approached a member of the public asking for help.

The suspect has now been remanded in custody for a second time and faces charges of ''escaping the detention of police officials'' as well as the initial drugs charges.