A NOTORIOUS conman who was jailed for more than six years went on the run from prison - just days before he was about to be freed.

Kenneth Tait was given home leave before serving his final week behind bars, but he failed to come back and went awol for three weeks.

A solicitor told Perth Sheriff Court yesterday that it was a highly unusual case because Tait would be a free man if he had simply returned to Castle Huntly prison as planned.

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A public appeal was issued for help in tracing Tait, from Edinburgh, and he was found in the city and arrested on Saturday. He admitted absconding after being given home leave on June 26.

Solicitor Billy Somerville told the court: "He should have been liberated on July 4. He was granted parole. He has been the model prisoner up until now.

"If he had stuck it out for a couple of days he would be free." Mr Somerville said Tait had become involved with another prisoner behind bars and had been asked to do something for them on the outside.

Mr Somerville said he was warned if he did not do what he was told he would "suffer the consequences" and he was afraid to return to Castle Huntly.

Sheriff John Rafferty noted that Tait had been given a release date less than two years into a sentence of 76 months imposed at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2011.

He deferred sentence to obtain a Governor's report from Castle Huntly. Tait, 47, was originally jailed for cheating vulnerable women out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.