FIVE "adventurous and very intelligent" monkeys have escaped London Zoo into nearby Regent's Park.

The pack of squirrel monkeys made their bid for freedom early this morning before the zoo opened.

"The squirrel monkeys have managed to gain access to some of the taller trees in their enclosure and from there, have leapt into the higher branches of a tree in Regents Park," a London Zoo spokeswoman said.

They spent the morning exploring the park, but by 1.30pm all but one of the monkeys had returned to their enclosure.

"Betty is still pottering about in the park and we are confident she is not far behind," she said.

"We have identified where the breach is occurring and currently have tree surgeons working in the enclosure to rectify this.

"Squirrel monkeys are not a dangerous animal their enclosure is a walk through exhibit and they pose no threat to the public."

She said they were a very intelligent set of monkeys and staff had previously had to train them to stop stealing visitor's mobile phones.