A manhunt has been launched across the North West for a convict who has escaped from prison.

Police have launched a major search operation to find Michael Ratcliffe who absconded from HMP Thorn Cross in Warrington.

The 34-year-old escaped at around 4.30am on Saturday, March 27, say police.

Ratcliffe is from Eccles in Salford and officers believe he could be trying to make it back to the area.

He is described as white, with a slim build and has very short dark hair.

The convict was wearing a grey coat, black tracksuit bottoms and black gloves when he was last seen and was carrying a green and white JD Sports bag.

Anyone who has seen Ratcliffe is urged to contact police immediately.

Inspector Helen Cooper at Cheshire Police said: "I would like to assure members of the public that we are doing everything we can to find the escaped prisoner and return him to lawful custody.

"Michael Ratcliffe is from Salford and may be intent on heading back to that area.

"He might try to get a lift there, if he hasn’t already done so, or he may still be near the prison in Warrington that he escaped from.

"Whilst we do not believe that Ratcliffe poses a risk to the public, anyone who sees him is urged not to approach him but to call 999 as soon as possible." Information regarding Ratcliffe’s whereabouts can be given by calling Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 948418, or via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report."

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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