Police are warning that a prisoner who escaped from Wanganui Hospital should not be approached.

Kenneth John Burns, 34, was under guard at the time and fled from a ward at the hospital where he had been a patient for the past 10 days.

The escape happened around 8pm last night.

Police said Burns was in custody on dishonesty offences.

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Burns was described as Maori, 173cm tall and of medium-solid build and was last seen wearing a greenish coloured top, grey pants and was not wearing shoes.

Police said Burns may have connections in the wide Wanganui area, and want to remind people that assisting an escaped prisoner is an offence.

A dog was used in an attempt to track Burns and continue to search for his whereabouts, police said.

Police asked anyone with any information to contact the Wanganui Police on 06 349 0600 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.