The once notorious leader of a safe-cracking gang who turned to art after his release from prison is back behind bars.

Simon Allan Kerr handed himself in at the Kerikeri police station just before 10pm on Tuesday.

He had been on the run since breaching his parole conditions more than a month ago.

Read more: Criminal on run Simon Kerr calls Northland police and chats on Facebook
Simon Kerr features on Police Ten 7 television show


He featured as a wanted person on the crime show Police Ten 7 in July and was also the subject of a police Facebook post, which he 'liked' and responded to. He had also phoned Kerikeri police several times.

Sergeant Phil Le Comte said Kerr surrendered himself without issue after ongoing phone contact over the past few weeks.

He was held in custody overnight in the Whangarei police cells and appeared in the Whangarei District Court today.

A warrant for his arrest had been issued for breach of parole conditions. The breach was related to an alleged domestic violence incident in Tauranga.

While Kerr could have been granted bail for the charge of breaching a protection order, the breach of parole means he has been recalled to prison. It will now be up to the Parole Board to decide how much more of his sentence Kerr has to serve.

He is due to appear in Tauranga District Court by audio-visual link on August 23.

Kerr, 56, was the leader of the notorious "Hole in the Wall" gang that cracked safes and ripped ATMs out of walls during a year-long crime spree in the 1990s.

He also made headlines in 1994 when, along with another prisoner, he barricaded himself on a turret at Mt Eden Prison in a protest calling for better conditions in the remand wing.

He discovered art in 2013 while serving a 6½ year term at Ngawha Prison for breaking into an ATM machine.

He had his first solo exhibition at Whangarei Art Museum while he was still locked up.

More shows and positive reviews followed in Wellington, Auckland and Kerikeri, where he settled with his partner and two daughters after his release in late 2015.