SYDNEY (Reuters) - A chubby, barefoot Australian man outran police Wednesday when he bolted through security gates left open at the back of a court he was being led into, officials said.

Security footage showed the overweight man dashing down a back lane in central Sydney pursued by at least four police and prison guards, two of whom tripped while giving chase.

"There was about seven or eight fellows but they couldn't stop him. He was a big fellow, pretty strong, but he could run," witness Chris Swift told reporters.

Red-faced police and prison officials were left to blame each other for the security slip-up. "My information is...that he was definitely in police custody," Australian Corrective Services official Ron Woodham said.