Police are hunting two inmates who escaped from a prison van in Salford.
The van was ambushed by a gang wearing balaclavas shortly after 9am on Regent Road.
The men had arrived at the location in a dark coloured Saab and threatened staff transporting the prisoners with a shotgun. Five men - believed to be three offenders and the two escaped prisoners - then got back into the Saab, and drove towards the M602 roundabout before abandoning the car .
Three of the gang ran towards Phoebe Street in the Ordsall estate and two escaped on a motorbike that was found abandoned on Thurlow Street.
Police have confirmed the identities of the escaped prisoners as 20 year old Ryan McDonald and 31 year old Stevie McMullen.
They were being transported to Manchester Crown Court when the raid took place.
McDonald was due to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit robbery. McMullen was standing trial for conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to possess a firearm.
Gillian Roberts witnessed the raid as she was driving to work.
The public are advised not to approach either man and if they are seen to call police immediately.
The ambushed van was operated by prisoner escort firm GEOAmey and was traveling from the privately run HMP Altcourse near Liverpool.
A Prison Service source suggested the ambush would probably involve one of the escapees having access to a smuggled mobile phone - of high value inside jail with prisoners banned from having them.
A phone call could then be made or a text sent to let the armed gang know which prison van they were in and so which vehicle to target, among the number of vans making their way from jail to Manchester Crown Court.
Police have arrested a man and a woman.