HAMPSHIRE police were today involved the hunt for an escaped prisoner serving a life sentence for murder.

Former market trader Mark Ryder, 37, escaped from Highpoint jail in Stradishall, Suffolk, on Thursday during an escorted visit to the Grafton Shopping Centre in Cambridge.

It is the second time he has given guards the slip.

Ryder was originally jailed for theft but a judge imposed a life sentence in 1993 after he shot dead a love rival after escaping from prison guards during a trip to Brighton, East Sussex.

Officers have been in contact with the family of the murdered man.

Chief Inspector Lawrence Hobbs of Sussex Police said: "We have no reason to believe he will return to the Brighton area but naturally we are in contact with the family of the victim."

He confirmed his force was also liaising with Hampshire Police and the Prison Service.

Ryder is described as white, 5ft 5in, with shaved, mousy brown hair and a faded tattoo of a cross on his forehead.