A French double murder suspect escaped from jail in a cardboard box that he built himself.

Jean-Pierre Treiber hid himself in the box which was loaded on to a truck bound for the Yonneregion, southeast of Paris.

He is believed to have hidden himself in the box when he was left alone in the prison's workshop, where he had built the box, on Tuesday morning.

French prison guards did not realize Treiber was missing for seven hours, as he had told them he had an appointment with his parole officer.

The driver said he noticed that the tarpaulin covering the boxes had been opened and some of them flattened, but failed to alert the authorities.

Police believe the 45-year-old could be hiding in the Foret d'Othe, where he was employed as a forest warden before his arrest.

A helicopter has been deployed, along with around 100 police officers and dogs to search the area for the escaped prisoner.

Jean-Pierre Treiber was being held at a maximum prison security in Auxerre for the murders of Geraldine Giraud and her friend Katia Lherbier.

He was due to stand trial early next year for the deaths, after being arrested in 2004.

The burned remains of both bodies were found on his property in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, near Paris.

Despite being in possession of the women's credit cards three weeks after they disappeared, he denies any involvement in their deaths.

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