FIVE prisoners, including convicted Glasgow murderer Joseph Steele,

escaped from Saughton Jail in Edinburgh last night.

Police road blocks were set up throughout Edinburgh, and extra police

were drafted in to search the immediate area.

The escape, believed to be the biggest mass break-out from a Scottish

jail in recent years, took place around 8.15 pm.

It happened while they were engaged in outdoor recreation activities

within the prison itself. They fled through a wire fence at a football


The men were described as potentially dangerous. A Scottish Office

spokesman said: ''These men should not be approached by members of the


Steele, 31, escaped last month during a visit to his mother's house in


He then superglued and handcuffed himself to the railings at

Buckingham Palace to protest his innocence for his conviction nine years

ago in connection with the Ice Cream War killings in which six members

of the Doyle family were burned to death.

He repeated his claim in a phone call to a newspaper last night. ''The

reason I escaped again was to highlight my case as part of my campaign

to prove that there has been a miscarriage of justice.''

One prisoner was later recaptured. He was named as Louis Cunningham or

Reynolds, 23, from Dumbarton who was jailed for seven years at the High

Court in Edinburgh last year.

The four still at large last night were Steele; James Gardner 31,

sentenced to two years and six months at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last

month; George Lindsay 26, from Edinburgh, jailed for seven years in 1991

at the High Court in Edinburgh; and Alexander Hillhouse from Glasgow,

sentenced to seven years at the High Court in Glasgow last June.

''Hillhouse and Lindsay are considered to be dangerous,'' the

spokesman added.

Saughton's governor, Mr John Durno, has been recalled from a course he

was attending in England to assist the inquiry launched by the Scottish

Prison Service. Area director of the service, Mr Jimmy Milne, is to head

the inquiry.

Mr Alan Walker, deputy chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service,

said: ''We are treating the escapes with the gravest possible concern.''