Dozens of inmates held for crimes including robbery and murder flee Venezuela detention centre

CARACAS (AFP) - A group of 41 men who were being held for crimes including murder, kidnapping and robbery broke out of a jail outside Caracas early on Wednesday, authorities said.

The men escaped through a "hole in the wall" at the detention centre in Los Teques around 2am, prosecutors said in a statement.

But according to the local La Region newspaper, the men snuck out through a gap by the back door. It said they had been waiting to be transported to a prison when they broke out.

La Region also published a list of escapees. Among them were eight who were being held for car robberies, 23 for murder and four for kidnapping.

The incident is under investigation.

The provisional detention centre had a capacity of 40 inmates but was holding more than 130.

The non-governmental Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons has said the country's prisons were severely overcrowded and reported on a wave of violence that saw 150 prisoners murdered in the first half of 2014.