Police are searching for a prisoner who escaped from a Hunter jail on Wednesday morning after finding keys dropped by a prison staff member.
Vaughan Grimston allegedly took a car from Cessnock Correctional Centre about 11.15am.
Police believe the 30-year-old is headed for the Central Coast or Sydney metro area, where he has connections.
Grimston was being held in minimum security at the Lindsay Street facility.
The Leader understands he fled after finding a set of keys unattended.
It is understood Grimston was on grounds maintenance duty when he found the keys that had been dropped by a prison staff member.
He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, between 170-180cm tall, with a medium build, brown hair and green eyes.
Grimston may be travelling in a 2018 silver Hyundai Tucson with NSW-registration YGN-24A.
Police warned people not to approach him but to call Triple Zero immediately if they spot him.
A Corrective Services NSW spokesperson said prison officers notified police as soon as it was discovered Grimston was missing.
"All aspects of the incident will be thoroughly investigated," the spokesperson said.
"Once recaptured, any inmate who escapes from CSNSW custody is charged by NSW Police."