The criminal mastermind notorious for attacking armoured vehicles carrying cash, bank robberies and heavy robberies including one in which a policewoman was killed dynamited himself out of a high-security prison yesterday and took four policemen hostage. Redoine Faid, one of the most feared armed robbers in France, broke out of Sequedin jail, near Lille.
The 40-year-old is armed and dangerous, and police have issued an all ports alert which includes the Channels one from which Faid could reach Britain. Police believe that his wife may have smuggled explosives wrapped in handkerchiefs into the prison. Once outside, Faid released the guards and was driven away at high speed in a car which was later found burned out near the town of Ronchin. 'It all happened very quickly,' sad a prison spokesman. 'The escape was clearly very well organised - we are still busy trying to work out the facts.'
Faid was named as the chief suspect for the organising of a botched armed robbery in 2010 in which Aurelie Fouquet, a 26-year-old policeman was killed.
Some 27 people were arrested in a sting operation following the murder, but Faid escaped.
He was finally arrested in June 2011 and sent to prison for eight years.
He is also notorious for his brazen attacks on cash-in-transit vehicles.
Etiene Dobremetz, a prison warden union official at Sequedin, said the four men taken hostage had all been 'deeply traumatised'.
It was Mr Dobremetz who accused Faid's wife of supplying the explosives, but the criminal's lawyer, Jean-Louis Pelletier, denied this, saying she had not even visited the prison today.
Mr Dobremetz said he was 'not at all surprised' that his client had escaped, adding: 'That a prisoner should escape is, in principal, not particularly surprising.
'Especially when the prisoner is someone in his situation, and, if I may say so, someone with his social network. There was certainly the possibility that this could happen.'
Faid, who grew up on a council estate outside Paris, is notorious for attacking armoured vehicles carrying cash.
In 1998 he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for at least eight armed robberies and bank thefts, but in 2009 he was released on parole.