The manhunt for the violent armed robber dubbed "the Skull Cracker" has been stepped up after he was spotted last night.

Michael Wheatley was seen at an address in Twickenham in London at 8pm last night.

When police arrived the 55-year-old fugitive had disappeared.

Today the Metropolitan Police issued a warning to residents in the area not to approach him.

The sighting comes as the Prison Minister reveals that review will take place after Wheatley, who terrorised a Hampshire bank worker, went missing after temporarily being allowed out of jaild.

Wheatley who was given 13 life sentences in 2002 for a string of brutal raids on banks, failed to return to HMP Standford Hill open prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

Wheatley raided 13 building societies and banks over 10 months in 2001 and 2002 while on parole from a 27-year sentence for other robberies.

He earned his nickname after pistol-whipping victims, including a 73-year-old woman, during the raids.

Wheatley pushed a gun into Kathleen Knights’ face as he robbed a branch of Halifax in Bishop’s Waltham where she was a clerk.

As he made his escape with an undisclosed amount of cash, Wheatley hit her on the head with his imitation weapon.

Daily Echo:

Today Mrs Knights (above) is reliving her ordeal as Wheatley remains on the run having failed to return to the open prison where he was being held.

Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said there will be a full review of the case, including an assessment of the release on temporary licence (ROTL) process.

Mr Wright said temporary licence can be an important tool to help offenders reintegrate into communities but that ''it should not be an automatic right''.

Ministers have said there will be a toughening up of the licence scheme so that prisoners are subjected to stricter risk assessments and tagged.

Mr Wright said: ''We are not prepared to see public safety compromised, the system has been too lax up to now and we are changing that.

''In future when prisoners are let out on temporary licence they will be tagged, more strictly risk assessed and tested in the community under strict conditions before being released.

''Temporary release can be an important tool in helping offenders reintegrate but it should not be an automatic right.

''There will be a full review of this case which will look at the ROTL process.''

Conservative backbencher Philip Davies said that whoever had allowed Wheatley out of prison was ''a berk'' and questioned why he was in an open prison in the first place.

The MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire said: ''It is completely ludicrous that a serving life sentence prisoner is even in an open prison where they can simply walk out.

''As far as I am concerned whoever allowed him to be in an open prison should be sacked, it is a complete disgrace.

''The top priority for the prison service should be the protection of the public. (Justice Secretary) Chris Grayling needs to put in charge of the prison service someone who will see protection of the public as a top priority.''

Kent Police has urged members not to approach Wheatley if he is spotted, but to dial 999 instead.

A police spokesman said Wheatley, originally of Limehouse in east London, has links across south east England.

Daily Echo:

Wheatley (above) admitted 13 charges of robbery and 13 of possessing an imitation firearm - a blank firing semi-automatic pistol - in October 2002.

The robberies between June 2001 and April the following year were mainly on small branches in areas Wheatley knew, ranging from Southampton in Hampshire to Royston in Hertfordshire.

The first was just three weeks after he was paroled from his first prison term.

As the robberies continued, so did the violence he used towards staff and customers.

In March 2002 he pistol whipped a 73-year-old woman and a building society manager.

The Old Bailey heard at the time he would often grab a female customer, putting the pistol to their head, leaving many mentally anguished.

His raids netted him more than £45,000.

He was given a five-year sentence on each of the firearm offences to run concurrently with the life sentences on each of the robbery charges. He was ordered to serve a minimum of eight years before being eligible for consideration for parole.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: ''Of course there should be a review into any breach of safety and security but, to put things in perspective, government figures show the main lessons to learn from open prisons are that the Prison Service has achieved a year-on-year reduction in absconds and that release on ROTL has succeeded in significantly reducing the risk of re-offending.''

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told BBC Breakfast: ''What I want to know and what I will be checking very hard is what risk assessments were done to actually let him out on temporary licence.

''We have had a number of incidents in the last few months of prisoners being let out on temporary licence disappearing or doing serious things.

''We are right in the middle of changing the system, so that in future, when the technology is available later this year, these prisoners will be tagged if they are released.

''But I am not happy about what has happened and I want an answer.''