Authorities are searching for an inmate who escaped from the grounds of a minimum security prison near Kingston.

Ontario Provincial Police say a prisoner was spotted escaping the Pittsburgh Institution, located on Highway 15 northeast  of Kingston, just before 10 p.m. Monday.

Officials checked on the inmates immediately, and were unable to find Mark Lloyd Aubertin, 37. He had been present for a formal head count three hours earlier.

Police are warning the public not to try to apprehend the inmate if he's spotted.

"We're looking for information only," said OPP Const. Janice Sawbridge.

She said anytime an inmate escapes from any kind of institution, they should never be approached.

Aubertin is from the Hamilton area, and has relatives there. However, right now police are unsure where he might be hiding.

"We're not sure if he's hiding near Kingston, or heading to Hamilton," said Sawbridge. "He could be anywhere in the province."

Aubertin is described as five feet eight inches tall, about 140 pounds, with brown curly hair and brown eyes. He has a "swan song" tattoo on his chest.

If he is spotted, the public is warned not to approach him. Rather, they are asked to contact the nearest police agency immediately.