Three men have escaped from police custody in Levin.
Police are searching in Levin and the wider Horowhenua for the three men they named as Wiremu Eparaima, 30, Te Wera Hemara, 27, and Emmanuel Witana, 23.
A spokesperson said the men escaped when they were being loaded into a transport vehicle at the Levin District Court about 5.40pm.
The spokesperson said a police officer was held back by a fourth man at the court, allowing the three to run away.
They fled, jumped into a stranger's car and demanded he drive away.
Police said the men then left on foot after abandoning the vehicle.
"Levin Police do not want to unduly concern members of the public but advise the community to be aware and report any suspicious activity to police by calling 111 immediately," police said.
The public are urged to not approach the men.