Three offenders are on the run in Levin after overpowering a police officer and carjacking an innocent motorist.

Wiremu Eparaima, Te Wera Hemara, and Emmanuel Witana escaped from Levin District Court today, police have confirmed.

The escape happened after the three offenders were being placed into transport at Levin District Court, police said.

"About 5.40pm, the three were being placed into transport at Levin District Court when an offender has restrained one of the officers in order to aid in the escape of three other offenders," police said.

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"The three ran from the station and got into the car of a man unknown to them, and demanded he drive away."

After escaping from the court by car the trio got out of this vehicle and fled on foot.

"Levin Police do not want to unduly concern members of the public, but advise the community to be aware and report any suspicious activity to police by calling 111 immediately," police said.

Members of the public are advised not to approach the three men.

"Police are committed to locating and arresting these offenders as quickly as possible and asks for the public's support to do this," police said.

There are reports saying police are stopping and searching cars in Waiterere Beach, looking for escaped prisoners.

Earlier reports on social media said three prisoners had escaped police and were now on the run.

The post suggested one person had escaped in a white wagon and two others were on foot.

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Another post in Undercover Palmy suggested the escapees had "jumped in a car with a man at Countdown who dropped them off at a car yard before going to the Police Station".

One of the escapees was described as having a tattoo from ear to ear, wearing a yellow jersey, long pants and no shoes - only socks.

• Anyone with information that may assist police is asked to call 111 immediately, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.