HUNT DOWN THE HAWK II; Runaway robber walks out of jail.
A GUNMAN dubbed The Hawk was on the run for the second time last night after fleeing from an open prison.
Serial armed robber Brian Martin - once branded one of the most dangerous men in Britain - absconded from Castle Huntly Prison, near Dundee, yesterday afternoon.
Martin, 51, originally from Fife, had been serving a 10-year term for firing a shotgun at a house in Kelty.
He'd earlier served time for a string of armed robberies and threatening police with a sawn-off shotgun.
But he was able to stroll to freedom out of the open prison.
Police and prison sources last night claimed Martin's recent behaviour does not indicate he is dangerous.
One said: "Nobody contained in a category C prison should be a risk to the public."
Martin was branded a "highly dangerous" criminal after the first time he went on the run following the incident in Kelty in August 2005.
Known as The Hawk because of his hooked nose, Martin had gone to Dickie Law's home in the Fife town with an axe-wielding teenage accomplice.
A shot was fired into a wall as Martin struggled with the 43-year-old businessman during a row over a stolen car.
Road blocks were set up as armed support unit officers carrying machine guns and a team of tracker dogs joined the search for Martin. He was arrested a fortnight later after gun cops swooped on a chalet at a small caravan site near Blairgowrie, Perthshire.
Martin had walked free from Saughton Prison, Edinburgh, in 2003, having served two-thirds of a 12-year sentence for a string of robberies across Britain.
And he vowed revenge on the people who put him behind bars.
Tayside Police last night confirmed Martin had "absconded from the open estate at around 1.15pm".
He is around 6ft 4in, bald with brown eyes and is clean-shaven.
He was last seen wearing a blue tammy, a green prison-issue fleece jacket with the SPS logo on it, light-blue baggy denim jeans, which he wears turned up, and black work boots.
He was carrying a plastic bag containing a pair of training shoes.
Police were checking Martin's known haunts in the Fife area yesterday.
A spokeswoman said: "Anyone who has seen Mr Martin or who knows his current whereabouts should get in touch with Tayside Police immediately."
The Scottish Prison Service last night defended the decision to house Martin at Castle Huntly.
A spokeswoman said: "We place great importance on prisoners being afforded the opportunity to prepare for release.
"All prisoners who go to open estate are rigorously assessed."
SEARCH: Brian Martin and, right, the Record story on his 2005 escape