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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Reward offered for escaped prisoners
Clifford Hobbs and Noel Cunningham
Clifford Hobbs and Noel Cunningham are on the run
A 50,000 reward is being offered to help catch two gunmen and two "extremely dangerous" prisoners who escaped during an armed ambush in south London.

Securicor has put up the reward as the hunt continues for the two men, who police say should not be approached.

Three prisoners fled when two men, one disguised as a postman, attacked a Securicor van carrying 10 remand prisoners.

The driver was shot in the knee and a security guard struck with a gun.

The two still on the run, Clifford Hobbs, 43, and Noel Cunningham, 41, both from Rotherhithe, south east London, were due in court charged with conspiracy to steal 1.25m from a Securicor vehicle in Brixton.

A third escapee, Tony Peters, surrendered to police on Tuesday afternoon.

'Organised escape'

The attack took place at 0910 BST on Tuesday outside Inner London Crown Court, near Elephant and Castle in Southwark.

The men were being transported from Brixton Prison in Lambeth when they escaped.

Detective Superintendent Mick Allen, of the Serious Crime Directorate, said: "I must stress they are extremely dangerous.

Map showing Inner London Crown Court
The hijack took place outside Inner London crown Court
"I have no doubt that if Hobbs and Cunningham want access to firearms, they could get access to firearms.

"Anyone who hijacks someone in a vehicle and shoots a guard and then takes two or three prisoners from the back, I would say is extremely audacious.

"It would appear to me that this was a sophisticated, organised escape and the gunmen knew exactly who they were going for."

Seven other prisoners who were inside the van did not try to escape and were taken into the court for their own safety.

A van which was transporting another prisoner, from Swaleside prison in Kent, who was due to face charges alongside Mr Cunningham and Mr Hobbs, turned back after being alerted about the escape.

The injured van driver has undergone surgery at St Thomas' Hospital. His colleague was also taken to hospital and later discharged.

An investigation has been launched by the Prison Service and Securicor.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC London's Tom Edwards
"It was an unjustified, audacious and brutal attack"



SEE ALSO:
Prisoners escape in armed hijack
10 Jun 03  |  London
'Dangerous' prisoners escape court
08 May 03  |  Northern Ireland
Escaped prisoner shot in leg
18 Apr 03  |  Southern Counties


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