A FAMILY friend of gun siege fugitive Mark Norton has urged him to give himself up.

Essex Police have been hunting Norton, 24, for five days and have just released this picture of him.

Norton, who is also known as Mark Toop, is still at large after escaping officers following a three-hour armed siege at his mother’s home in Elm Road, Shoebury, on Friday.

Yesterday, a neighbour of Mr Norton, and a friend of his family, urged him to hand himself in.

Shoebury’s independent councillor Michael Assenheim lives across the road from Norton and has known his mother for 35 years.

Mr Assenheim witnessed Friday’s armed siege in its entirety and, under police instruction, was unable to leave his home as it unfolded.

In a direct appeal to Norton he said: “Mark, give yourself up for the sake of everybody.

“Stop giving police the hassle of trying to find you. I’ve known you a long time.

“I don’t want your mum to get any more upset about it.”

Mr Assenheim added: “He’s a nice enough lad, always respectful. He’s just gone wayward, unfortunately. His mother is such a nice lady.

“They’re neighbours. I’ve been here 35 years and she’s been there all that time.”

Mr Assenheim also said the mood in Shoebury had quietened since Friday’s tense stand-off which was witnessed by hundreds of residents.

On Friday, officers went to arrest Norton for what he claims was a breach of his prison licence.

But he produced a firearm and the situation escalated, forcing police to call in armed officers and blocking off the street for several hours.

Over the weekend, Mr Norton left messages on the Echo website telling readers he would not be found by police “unless I choose to be”.

He also said he surrendered his firearm by leaving it in a wheelie bin and then telling police about it.