Hunt for shirtless prisoner

Last updated 12:28 21/08/2014

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A prisoner has escaped custody and is on the loose in Opotiki.

Police said the 21-year-old man escaped from a van while in transit between Waikeria Prison and the Opotiki District Court and fled into the Bay of Plenty township.

When he escaped he was wearing orange prison overalls, but was now believed to be shirtless and wearing only a pair of shorts, police said.

Police have set up cordons and a police dog was being used in the search.

The prisoner was described as Maori, 177 centimetres tall, of medium build and with a tattoo on his back.

Court records indicated he was Joel John Graham, the Whakatane Beacon said. 

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