Pair On Run After Prison Van Raid on Trinity Way

Police are still searching for two men who were sprung from a prison van by an armed gang in Manchester.

Kirk Bradley and Tony Downes were being taken to Liverpool Crown Court, where they are on trial, when the security van they were in was targeted in a daring morning rush-hour raid.

Police issued their photos today but members of the public were warned not to approach the pair if they are spotted and instead call police.

Both men were in the van when it was attacked on Trinity Way on the edge of Manchester city centre shortly after 8.30am today (July 18.)

Bradley and Downes, both 25 and from Liverpool, are accused of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit criminal damage with intent to endanger life.

They were taken out of the security van by "a number of armed, masked men'', police said.

The gang made off in a Saab car, which was found abandoned in Barrow Street in Islington, Salford, a short time later.

One security guard was taken to hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Downes and Bradley were part way through their trial with a number of other co-accused.

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: "Officers are appealing for the public's assistance in tracing these two offenders, but would urge anyone who knows of their whereabouts not to approach the pair.''

Detective Sergeant Paul Copplestone, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "We are sure that this incident was witnessed by many people at a very busy time of the morning. The Saab was driven off towards the M602 motorway.

"We would urge witnesses to contact us.''

Police cordoned off a section of a bridge on Trinity Way, close to the intersection between the M6 towards Birmingham and the M602 towards Liverpool.

A white Leyland DAF G4S security van was left in the middle of the bridge with its driver's side door open and a police car parked behind it.

The road is a main artery around the city centre and normally busy with traffic at the time the raid took place.

Police forensic experts examined both the van and the Saab as the hunt for the missing pair continued.

The Saab was found down a narrow street a mile away, abandoned by the side of a primary school.