Fugitive Jordan Morgan was moved to Kirkham open prison just eight days before he walked out, a court heard earlier.
The 22-year-old was in a car heading out of Blackpool when he was arrested last nightg – just hours after appearing on the front page of The Gazette.
And Blackpool Magistrates’ Court was told Morgan, of Beechwood Avenue, simply walked out of Kirkham, where he was moved after previously trying to dig his way out of HMP Preston.
Steven Duffy, defending, said: “Morgan was in Kirkham for just eight days before he walked out the gate.
“He says he did hear somebody shouting but he kept on walking.”
Morgan, a convicted arsonist who killed 25 animals when he torched Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary in St Annes in 2011, admitted his escape and will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court at a later date.
Prosecutor Martine Connah said:” This man’s orginal sentence was an indefinite one for arson at the animal sanctuary.”
“He was transferred from Preston Prison to Kirkham Prison.He walked out in June last year and has been at large ever since.”
Police were called to a home in Beechwood Grove at around 5.20pm yesterday after getting a tip-off Morgan may be there.
Further enquiries led them to believe he was travelling in a blue Volkswagen down the M55 towards the A6, a Lancashire Police spokesman said.
The car was stopped while it was travelling north, close to Garstang, and Morgan was arrested.
The breakthrough came the same day the police and prison service – which had refused to say when Morgan arrived at Kirkham – faced criticism from MPs.
Labour MP for Blackpool South, Gordon Marsden said: “It’s quite disturbing that someone who caused suffering and inflicted cruelty on the animals and damage at Easterleigh has absconded.
“it’s important, particularly if he may still be in the Blackpool area, for the police to look at this matter and publicise the fact.
Lancashire Police said media appeals are ‘always an option open to the police’ but said work had been ongoing to try and find Morgan over the past eight months.
A spokesman added: “I would like to thank the press for highlighting this matter.
The prison service said it does not comment on individual cases.