A prisoner who had been taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital last Friday night decided to do a runner rather than get treatment and was still at large as of yesterday.

"We are still looking for him," Senior Sergeant Dave Sutherland of Eastern District Police said.

Rua Joseph Morrell, 29, was being taken to hospital for an unspecified reason and was being escorted by two officers from the Department of Corrections.

When they arrived at the hospital he made a dash for it and managed to elude the officers.


Police were called in and carried out searches across a wide area around the hospital but failed to find him.

A police spokesperson said they believed there was no risk to the wider public.

"We have been to see family and associates of his," Mr Sutherland said, adding that Morrell was a local and had family in the Pakipaki region.

A Corrections spokesman said he was unable to say what Morrell was being taken to hospital for.

After police posted information about the escape on their Facebook page it attracted plenty of attention.

Some people who posted messages said they knew of Morrell but not his current whereabouts.

One wrote "don't make it any worse man - do the right things and hand yourself in - life is better on the straight side of the law man".

Another posted "you did the crime go back and do the time - they will catch you eventually".

Corrections would not comment on what Morrell had been serving time for.

In 2008 though it was reported he had been prosecuted on burglary and theft charges relating to a string of incidents where he and three other youths had targeted the Pakipaki area.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Morrell is asked to contact Hawke's Bay Police on 831 0700.

Calls can also be made to the confidential Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.