A PUBLIC appeal has spread to the North East over the whereabouts of a man who escaped from court during an appearance before magistrates in Kent.

Although said to be from the Gravesend area of Kent, William Reader is believed to have links to Durham.

He fled the dock at Medway Magistrates’ Court where he was brought from custody, on Saturday morning, facing a charge in connection with an assault.

At the time he was wearing a grey tracksuit, but it is thought he may have been able to change his clothes.

Kent Police launched an extensive search for the defendant, and the force helicopter was reported to have been seen in the area of the court building, in Chatham.

The public have been asked if they believe they have seen the fugitive not to approach him, but to contact police immediately, on 999.

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