The police van was ambushed at Regent Road in Salford (@MikeKeeganmen)
The police van was ambushed at Regent Road in Salford (@MikeKeeganmen)

Two prisoners have escaped after a police van was ambushed by five men wearing balaclavas in Salford, Greater Manchester.

The men have now been named as Stevie McMullen and Ryan McDonald.

The van, which was believed to be carrying the prisoners to court, was attacked as it travelled along Regent Road. Witnesses reported seeing two men flee the van.

One of the men is reported to have escaped on the back of a motorcycle.

Police have closed the street and reassured local residents they do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community. A large number of police officers have been deployed to the area to deal with the incident.

Photographs from the scene show a police van with smashed windows. However it is understood no one was injured during the incident.

Chief supt Kevin Mulligan said: "To reassure those that live nearby there is a significant police presence in the area.

"At this stage we do not believe that there is any ongoing threat to the community and we would appeal to anyone who has any information to contact the police as soon as possible."

Greater Manchester Police confirmed the incident is not related to the ongoing Dale Cregan trial.

In July 2011, Liverpool gangsters Tony Downes and Kirk Bradley escaped from a police van after it was ambushed on the same stretch of road as the latest incident.

The pair were being tranported from Strangeways jail to their trial at Liverpool crown court. They were eventually caught in the Netherlands and sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in jail.

Anyone with information can call police on 101.