Robbers, drug dealers and fraudsters are being allowed day release from UK prisons for driving lessons.

The figures, released in response to a parliamentary question, show that 51 violent drug offenders were given temporary release from prisons last year to learn how to drive.

They were alongside 29 held for robbery, along with five for theft, three for fraud and two for burglary.

In total, 190 inmates were granted temporary release for driving lessons, in a bid to prepare for life after prison.

The convicts must pay for the lessons and applying for a licence out of their own pocket.

The number of prisoners allowed day release for driving lessons has fallen by 25 since 2008, and the coalition has said it would make life harder for inmates.

Speaking to the Mail Online, Labour’s shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: “The public will be concerned that releasing prisoners to do driving tests is taking a big risk with their safety. Some of the prisoners let out are inside for serious and violent crimes.

“It’s absolutely crucial that ministers look into this to ensure everything possible is being done to make sure that no risk is being taken with the public’s safety.”