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Steven Best, a prisoner serving time for a violent incident, escaped from custody while at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

Police were scouring the area near Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital Tuesday morning, looking for an escaped prisoner who had been involved in a violent robbery just before Christmas.

Inmate Steven Best, who is serving time for weapons offences, escaped just before 6 a.m. CST Tuesday, police said.

Corrections Ministry spokeswoman Janice Wilby said two guards had taken Best from the provincial jail to the hospital for medical treatment when it happened.

"Best used a razor blade to escape one of the correction workers accompanying him," she said.

The guard wasn't injured.

Best, 29, is five feet, eight inches tall, and weighs about 175 pounds.

He has blue eyes and blond hair, but police are not sure what he is wearing.

The Royal University Hospital was put in lockdown while police searched the building, but has since resumed normal operations. At least eight police cruisers, and the police Street Gang Unit, were on the scene.

Police advise anyone who sees Best not to approach him, but to call 911.

Best was in jail for a hold-up at the Senator Hotel in Saskatoon just before Christmas. A clerk in the hotel's front lobby was shot in the hand during the attempted robbery.

Customers and staff disarmed Best and then restrained him until police arrived.