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UK manhunt after prison escape in ambush

British authorities have launched an international manhunt for a murder suspect who escaped from a prison van in a “well-orchestrated armed ambush,” including masked men, sledgehammers and a silver Mercedes.

West Mercia police said John Anslow, 31, escaped about 8:30 a.m. Monday while being transferred from Hewell prison in Redditch in central England to Stafford Crown Court.

Detective Inspector Jon Marsden said three men wearing balaclava masks used a silver Volkswagen Scirocco to block the van. They then smashed the windscreen and windows with sledgehammers and punched the driver. The men were able to grab Anslow and all took off in a silver Mercedes, with the partial registration KR11.

Two other prisoners in the van were left behind.

"This was a serious criminal incident involving a well-orchestrated armed ambush,” Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke told the Worcester News. "The first priority is to ensure that this man is quickly found and arrested."

Anslow, 31, was one of five men recently charged with fatally shooting a man in 2010.

Authorities told Britain’s Sky News Anslow uses the nickname Skits and is described as an extremely dangerous.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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