THREE prisoners escaped from an unlocked police van in a slapstick moment after officers apparently stopped for a cup of tea.
The detainees were seen peering through the windows of the vehicle before fleeing after the officers in charge of them took a break.
Their flight was caught on camera as the occupants were transported to appear before Jhansi Railway magistrates in India.
The refugees are believed to still be at large – but eight officers have since been suspended on suspicion of dereliction of duty.
Police are accused of leaving the blue prison bus unattended during a tea break in Jhansi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The occupants took their chance and ran down the busy street, got out of the back of the vehicle and then ran away in different directions.
Jhansi police said in a statement: “Police officers who were negligent have been suspended.”
“The three men will be arrested soon.”
Reports suggest that cases have been filed not only against the three absconding prisoners but also against three sub-inspectors of police and five constables.
Local reports suggest the officers did so now released.
Police chief Jogendra Kumar said: “The allegations against her are so serious that her continued service will have a negative impact on other police personnel.”
“And the possibility of a major incident occurring in the future cannot be ruled out.”
One of Britain’s most shocking prison escapes occurred in 1995 at HMP Pankhurst maximum security prison on the Isle of Wight.
Other prison escapees included US gangster John Dillinger and fraudster Frank Abagnale, whose lives inspired the Hollywood film Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.