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France's Justice Ministry said Redoine Faid's escape only took "a few minutes" and no one was injured or taken hostage at Reau Prison.

A notorious gangster has escaped by helicopter from a prison in the Paris region, French authorities say.

Faid was serving 25 years in prison for his role in a failed 2010 robbery that resulted in the death of French police officer Aurélie Fouquet.

In 2013, he blasted his way out of prison with explosives concealed in tissue packets and was arrested at a hotel six weeks later.

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, who has said he was inspired by United States films such as "Scarface" and "Heat", was serving 25 years in Réau prison for his part in a botched 2010 cash-transport van robbery that he masterminded.

Faid's accomplices hijacked a helicopter from a flight school on Sunday morning and forced the terrified instructor to take them to the prison, where the aircraft hovered above the yard.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said a helicopter landed in a courtyard, which was not covered by any nets.

His infamy has increased since then following appearances in several television shows and the co-authoring of books recounting his past and rise as a criminal in the tough suburbs of Paris.

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He fled with three accomplices, according to the sources.

The helicopter was found burned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris.

They switched to a white van that had the company name Enedis marked on the vehicle.

Police found the chopper dumped by a highway about 40 miles away, the insides torched.

It's not the first time Faid has escaped from jail.

The French government pointed to possible security failings on Monday after a notorious gangster used a helicopter to stage his second brazen jailbreak of a crime career inspired by films such as "Scarface".

He approached film director Michael Mann at a Paris film festival in 2009, telling Mann, "You were my technical adviser".

Before the 2010 robbery, he had served a decade behind bars until he convinced officials he regretted his past. He received an eight-year prison sentence in 2011 - interrupted by the 2013 breakout.

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