THREE prisoners have escaped from an unlocked police van in a slapstick moment after officers apparently stopped for a cup of tea.
Their flit was captured on camera as the inmates were being transported to appear before Jhansi Railway magistrates in India.
The escapees are believed to still be on the loose – but eight officers have now been suspended on suspicion of neglecting their duties.
Police are accused of leaving the blue prison bus unguarded during a tea break in Jhansi, in the northern Indian state Uttar Pradesh.
The inmates took their chance and scarpered along the busy street, letting themselves out of the back of the vehicle before running off in different directions.
Jhansi’s police force said in a statement: “Police officers who were careless have been suspended.
“The three men will be detained soon.”
Cases have reportedly been filed against not only the three prisoners on the run but also three police sub-inspectors and five constables.
Local reports suggest the officers have now been sacked.
Police chief Jogendra Kumar said: “The allegations against them are so serious that keeping them in the police force will have a negative effect on other police personnel.
“And the possibility of a major incident occurring in the future cannot be ruled out.”