Fugitive prisoner Tony Ferri has a network of criminal associates who could be helping him stay on the run, according to police.
The 33-year-old has been missing since assaulting two guards following a hospital visit last week.
Ferri, of New View Drive, Bellshill, is serving five years for housebreaking, assault and traffic offences.
Two guards from security firm G4S needed treatment after he escaped as they were about to take him back to Addiewell Prison in West Lothian from St John’s Hospital, Livingston, on Thursday afternoon.
Police have linked a car found in New Stevenston to the missing prisoner. The Renault Megane was stolen in Livingston on Friday and was discovered in Stevenston Court on Sunday evening.
Appealing for information, Detective Inspector Paul Batten said: “The discovery of this vehicle is of significant interest to our investigation.”
Ferri has a criminal record stretching back to his teens, much of it for car theft and other crimes of dishonesty.
However, he also has convictions for violence and police have warned members of the public not to approach him.
In January last year he got his longest sentence yet - five years - for attacking a householder after a break-in.
It was stated in court that a long-running drugs problem is at the root of his offending.
A police source said: “Ferri has been in and out of jail so much that he has associates the length and breadth of Central Scotland, so officers are speaking to a lot of people who know him.
“It’s an extra line of inquiry but I would suggest anyone who has had contact with Ferri should look out for themselves and tell us rather than get into trouble later for withholding information.”
Ferri has been known to frequent the Grangemouth area, but efforts to trace him are focusing on Lanarkshire.
The police source added: “ I don’t know whether he was planning this escape or if it was opportunistic, but I would be surprised if he surfaced anywhere other than his home area. Ferri is no master criminal.”