Notorious gangster in helicopter prison break

Police examine the scene where the helicopter used in the jailbreak was abandoned

The robber-the recidivist Redouane faid of July 1, escaped by helicopter from prison, located in the French region of Ile-de-France.

Faid was being visited by his brother in Reau prison near Paris when the helicopter landed in the prison courtyard.

Faid was serving a 25-year prison sentence for a 2010 failed robbery in which a 26-year-old municipal police officer was killed.

This is the second time he had escaped from a French prison, after he used explosives to blast his way out of jail on a previous occasion before recapture.

In 2013, he took four prison guards hostage before using dynamite to blow his way out of jail and fleeing in a waiting getaway auto.

Born into a family of 11 brothers in the gritty Paris suburb of Creil, Faid dabbled in crime from an early age, stealing a supermarket trolley filled with candies at the age of six.

Faid is a well-known criminal in France, particularly after his high-stakes escape from prison in 2013.

Faid grew up in the French capital's tough immigrant suburbs.

Now, he has escaped once again - this time making a break for it in a helicopter.

A prison watchtower is seen at Reau penitentiary, near Paris, on September 24, 2013.

After several attempts, the engine restarted and they headed to Reau Prison to hustle Redoine Faid to freedom.

A union representative for the prison told French news channel BFM that "two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands" broke into the visiting room with a grinder.

Faid was once France's most-wanted man and previously said his life of crime was inspired by films such as "Scarface", according to AFP.

Around 3,000 French police are now participating in the manhunt, according to a police source.

"Two commandos entered the prison to look for Redoine Faid as the third man was staying with the helicopter instructor", Belloubet said.

In a dramatic style, Faid's associates hijacked a helicopter and made the pilot land it in a prison courtyard that was not protected by anti-aircraft setting.

Faid has a violent criminal record dating to at least the 1990s, when he organized the robberies of banks, shops and armored vehicles. The helicopter was found burned out in a town north of Paris.

Faid was freed in 2009 after serving 10 years. "Behind all his manners-he is very polite-he always hid his game", the supervisor said.

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