Police are appealing to the public for sightings of patched gang member William Tuitupou who escaped from custody at the Auckland District Court today.

The 48-year-old man allegedly posed as another prisoner who was being bailed from the court to make his getaway.

Police say Tuitupou had previously been remanded in custody and was taken to court to appear in relation to numerous charges this morning.

Police are currently making a number of inquiries to find him, including conducting door knocks and reviewing CCTV footage.

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A police spokeswoman said he is a patched gang member who is "considered dangerous and should not be approached by the public".

Tuitupou is described as 180cm tall, of medium to solid build, with short black hair. He was wearing a white top with black and white striped sleeves, with pink shorts and green sneakers at the time.

Anyone who sees Tuitupou or has information about his whereabouts is urged to call 111, or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

Police and the Courts are urgently reviewing the circumstances surrounding this incident in order to identify how this was able to occur.