LONDON (Reuters) -British police said they had issued an urgent appeal to find a former soldier suspected of terrorism offences who went on the run after escaping from a London prison on Wednesday.
Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, who was being held in prison while he awaited trial, is believed to have escaped from HMP Wandsworth shortly before 8 a.m. (0700 GMT), London police said in a statement.
The BBC and other media reported he had been working in the kitchens of the jail and had got out by strapping himself to the bottom of a food delivery van.
An alert was issued by police to Britain's ports and airports, including London Heathrow, where travellers faced delays because of additional security checks.
"Due to a police matter, there are currently enhanced checks on outbound traffic at the Port of Dover and other portals within the UK," the busy port, Britain's main gateway to Europe, said in a statement.
Police advised the public not to approach Khalife, who is 6ft 2ins tall (1.88 m) and was wearing a white T-shirt, red and white chequered trousers and brown steel toe cap boots.
"We have a team of officers who are making extensive and urgent enquiries in order to locate and detain Khalife as quickly as possible," said Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the London police's Counter Terrorism Command.
"I also want to reassure the public that we have no information which indicates, nor any reason to believe that Khalife poses, a threat to the wider public."
Khalife, who was based at barracks in central England at the time of the alleged offences, is accused of eliciting or trying to elicit information "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".
He was also charged with making a bomb hoax by placing three canisters with wires on a desk "with the intention of inducing in another a belief that the said article was likely to explode or ignite".
Police later added an offence of obtaining information which might be "directly or indirectly useful to an enemy" in contravention of the Official Secrets Act.
He was discharged from the army in May, the defence ministry said.
(Reporting by Michael Holden and Sam Tobin; Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Nick Macfie)