Ararat sex offender search: Northern Grampians police scale back as hunt goes state-wide

NORTHERN Grampians police have scaled down their efforts as the hunt for convicted child rapist Andrew Darling goes state-wide.

Police are no closer to finding the sex offender, who escaped from Corella Place in Ararat on Sunday.

Northern Grampians Inspector Ian Lindsay said there has been a number of unconfirmed sightings of Darling across Victoria. 

"As a result of the absconding from the facility at Corella, we've conducted a search of the surrounds of the correctional facility and extended that search into the rural communities and no sightings have been confirmed," he said.

Inspector Lindsay said trains, buses and freight operators had been alerted.

A centralised taskforce has taken over from Northern Grampians police and is co-ordinating the state-wide search.

"We've scaled down our search as effective of Tuesday morning," Inspector Lindsary said. 

"It remains active with the Fugitive Taskforce, which is based in Melbourne, and they will be supported by Ararat Criminal Investigation Unit.

"We're still maintaining a visible presence and patrols. 

"At this stage we're uncertain whether he's still in this area or if he's further afield." 

Darling was convicted of the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 2000.

He served nine years in Port Phillip Prison, but broke parole in 2009 and was arrested in Queensland.

He escaped from Corella Place in 2010 and was on the run for 51 hours before being arrested at the Landsborough Hotel.

Inspector Lindsay urged people to remain vigilant and not approach Darling if they saw him.

"If anyone has knowledge or been in communication with him we'd ask them to dial 000 or Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000," he said.

"It's very much to the benefit of community to have him returned to custody at the first available chance."

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