Suburb in lockdown as police hunt men. Picture: Ben Crabtree
Suburb in lockdown as police hunt men. Picture: Ben Crabtree

Update, 6.45pm: A police manhunt for two escapees will continue into the night, after two unconfirmed sightings.

Members of the public have been urged to immediately report any sightings of the men, who escaped Banksia Hill Detention Centre yesterday, directly to “000”.

Police have scaled back a search in Manning, but will continue to search parts of Bayswater where the first sighting of the men was reported.

Earlier this afternoon streets in Bayswater were in lockdown as police flooded the area, using a helicopter and dogs to aid the search. Police are focussing on an area between Beechboro Road, Collier Road, Tonkin Highway and Railway Parade.

The search was extended to Manning after 5pm after a second unconfirmed sighting of the men near Ley Street.

The manhunt comes as Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper this evening ordered an “immediate” investigation into how the pair escaped, after it emerged there had been security concerns at the detention centre in the lead up to the break out.

The teenagers assaulted a security guard, stole a vehicle and used it to smash through metal gates yesterday.

It is alleged Christopher Meredith, 18, and 17-year-old Peter Robert Garlett - both considered dangerous - assaulted the guard and used a Toyota Hilux four- wheel drive to break through the centre’s main gates about 10.15am yesterday.

Police said the Toyota collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Bristle Avenue and Ranford Road soon after.

Garlett and Meredith allegedly stole another Toyota Hilux, a white 2002 single cab four-wheel drive, from a shopping centre. The vehicle had a beige canvas canopy and black bullbar.

The vehcile was found in the suburb of Camillo this morning.

Acting Assistant Commissioner for Youth Justice Andrew Salter said yesterday’s incidents would be "thoroughly reviewed".

Mr Salter said the Corrective Services Department was confident in security at the centre and regularly checked all security procedures.

Community and Public Sector Union-Civil Service Association branch secretary Toni Walkington said the incident highlighted security problems at the centre that the union had raised repeatedly.

Ms Walkington alleged the security guard assaulted by the escapees had been hit with a brick. She said the breakout came after other worrying incidents where other detainees had accessed the building site at the centre, thrown bricks at staff and climbed on to the roof of a building.

Garlett is dark-skinned, 170cm tall, with a medium build, brown hair and brown eyes.

Meredith is dark-skinned, 176cm tall, with a slim build, brown hair and brown eyes.

A police spokesman said the public should not approach Garlett or Meredith.

The West Australian

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