Key Points:

Wanted man Lee Bell ran straight to the casino and threw $5800 into a gaming machine after fleeing the High Court last week.

The 41-year-old, who is facing drug and firearms charges, escaped from the High Court at Auckland after being denied bail last Tuesday.

But, instead of going into hiding, the Herald understands he went straight to the SkyCity casino.

Casino staff questioned Bell, prompting him to flee for the second time in a day.

He left behind his money in the gaming machine he was playing.

Bell was appearing in court on his first monthly bail check.

Because he had already been out on bail, he was allowed to sit in the public gallery, rather than the dock.

There was no security in the courtroom - the High Court's single police officer was busy in another room - so Bell reportedly ran straight out the door after the judge denied him bail.

Bell is to face trial next month on charges relating to a drug bust in Northcote Point last July.

During the raid, police seized "P" worth about $77,0000, $46,000 in cash and 2kg of cold-medicine tablets.

Police have not been able to find Bell since his runaway escape, although they have found and seized his car.

They are appealing to the public to report any sightings of the missing man.

It is believed he is probably still in the Auckland area, where he has a wife and child.

Bell is described as being of medium build and about 188cm tall.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Sergeant James Watson on 0800 243 892.

Escaped prisoner Storm Bryce Hughes is back in custody after being arrested in East Auckland late on Friday night.

Hughes, who was described by police as being extremely dangerous, had been on the run since last Wednesday when he escaped from a working party at Springhill prison.

Police had come close to finding him several times at various addresses - including one in Bucklands Beach, which was raided by the armed offenders squad on Friday morning - but he kept eluding them.

Late on Friday night, his luck ran out when members of the public phoned police about a man acting suspiciously in Bucklands Beach.

The area was cordoned off and Hughes was captured after a short chase on foot.