Police have launched a manhunt after a 19-year-old fled a court dock as a judge was about to send him to jail.
Unemployed Ricky Kerry ran from the dock at Southend Crown Court after being sentenced to 28 months in prison for robbery, Essex Police said.
A spokesman added: "He made off on foot at just after 12.45pm in the direction of Baxter Avenue. He was wearing a grey tracksuit and has brown eyes."
It is understood that Kerry, of Jones Close, Southend, escaped through heavy double doors at the entrance to the court and down two flights of stairs.
Security guards chased him but could not catch him.
Police said Kerry was being sentenced for a robbery in Sutton Road, Southend, in April in which he punched a man and took his mobile phone.
Anyone with information should contact Essex Police on 101.