Wellington police are hunting for a man who escaped from custody while being transported to hospital from Rimutaka Prison tonight.

Ricky Wilson was last seen on foot in the Silverstream/Heretaunga area.

The 29-year-old is described as Caucasian, 183cm tall and of thin to medium build.

Both his lower legs are heavily tattooed.

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Police have warned that Wilson should not be approached and people should stay inside as the hunt for the fugitive continues.

Police said they "are currently assisting Corrections to locate a person of interest".
A Wellington Live Facebook post warned residents in Upper Hutt and Silverstream to "stay inside as a helicopter is using heat sensing technology to track the person".

#BREAKING *PRISON RUNAWAY* If you are in Upper Hutt (Silverstream) you need to STAY INSIDE as a helicopter is using heat...

Posted by Wellington - LIVE on Sunday, 10 May 2020

Rimutaka Prison acting director Steve Morgan said the remand prisoner absconded from custodial staff during a hospital escort this evening.

"We encourage anyone with any information to contact the Police on 111," he said.

"The prisoner is likely to be charged with escaping custody, which can result in a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment.

An escaped prisoner is on the run near Rimutaka Prison (above) in Upper Hutt. Photo / File
An escaped prisoner is on the run near Rimutaka Prison (above) in Upper Hutt. Photo / File

"A full operational review into the circumstances of the incident will be carried out."

Rimutaka Prison had 1015 prisoners at last count on March 31.