A manhunt is underway for a 51-year-old sex offender who escaped from prison.

Gintautas Urbonas was serving a 12-year sentence at HMP Peterborough for attempted rape, battery and sexual assault before he managed to escape, Cambridgeshire Police said.

"A 51-year-old male prisoner has escaped from HMP Peterborough. We are supporting the police with their ongoing operation. We are investigating this incident," an HMP Peterborough spokesman told Sky News.

Authorities are warning the public not to approach Urbonas, but instead to call police with any information regarding his whereabouts. Individuals who may be harbouring the fugitive could risk prosecution for doing so, police warned.

Lorry drivers have been urged to be wary in case Urbonas attempts to catch a ride with them.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 999.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Birchall said Urbonas could be heading to Lithuania, The Cambridge News reported.

"It is likely he has left the area, but he could still be in Peterborough," Birchall said. "I would ask lorry drivers picking up hitch-hikers to be aware that this gentleman is at large and if they anything suspicious to phone us.

"He is somebody we want to capture very soon so we can put him back behind bars where he needs to be."

Urbonas escaped HMP Peterborough on Friday (26 January) afternoon.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found last week that the female set at HMP Peterborough is "not sufficiently good" on safety. The Category B prison, which is operated by Sodexo and has a capacity of 840 prisoners, is the only site in England and Wales to house both female and male inmates.