Four held in hunt for escaped prisoner Shaun Walmsley

Image source, Merseyside Police
Image caption, Shaun Walmsley was one of four men convicted of a "vicious" murder in 2014

Police hunting for a convicted murderer who escaped custody in Liverpool have arrested four men in Dorset.

Armed officers hunting for Shaun Walmsley detained them during a swoop on a car in the Canford Cliffs area of Poole on Friday afternoon.

Eyewitnesses reported loud bangs and pink smoke as police cars blocked the Vauxhall Corsa's escape in Haven Road.

Walmsley, 28, escaped during a hospital visit last month. On Saturday night, police said the men had been released.

The Merseyside force said the arrested men - two 24-year-olds, both from Toxteth, a 25-year-old from Maghull, and a 25-year-old from Vauxhall - had been freed "pending a disposal decision".

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "During the planned operation, specialist officers discharged tyre deflation rounds directly into the tyres to stop the vehicle and arrest the four men.

"Nobody was injured in the incident and no other weapons were discharged."

Image source, Lynda Beale
Image caption, Eyewitnesses said about 30 police officers, including some in balaclavas, descended on the car in Canford Cliffs

The men were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and taken for questioning in Merseyside.

Walmsley was getting into a cab with prison officers outside Aintree Hospital on 21 February when he was sprung from custody by two armed men.

He is one of four men serving life sentences for the "vicious and savage" stabbing of Anthony Duffy in 2014.

Described as "highly dangerous", he was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years.

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