Airbase could house foreign criminals

Hundreds of foreign criminals who have completed their jail sentences in the UK but cannot be deported because they may be tortured or executed in their home countries could be housed in a prison at RAF Coltishall.

Hundreds of foreign criminals who have completed their jail sentences in the UK but cannot be deported because they may be tortured or executed in their home countries could be housed in a prison at RAF Coltishall, it has been revealed.

The latest news will send shockwaves through the local community, who were promised in November that if an immigration detention centre were built on the former airbase, it would not hold criminals.

In fact it is the third suggested use for the site since the Home Office became involved in the autumn. They initially said they might build an immigration centre for people who had not been convicted of crimes in the UK, then last week the prison idea was put forward - and it is understood that the latest plan may well be announced officially later this week.

The prison would be used to take foreign criminals out of “mainstream” prisons, freeing up spaces for other prisoners. The prison service is currently in crisis amid widespread accusations of incompetence and chaos in the Home Office.

Today Mid Norfolk MP Keith Simpson said: “The story that is leaking out of the Home Office is probably correct in its general assumption.

“This is being driven by a crisis within the prison system.

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“The problem is RAF Coltishall looks like an easy quick fix for the Home Office.”

His North Norfolk counterpart Norman Lamb said he has been left “completely bemused” by the latest news.

“This is born out of crisis management and I have huge concerns on a number of levels, including the sustainability of any decisions being made in the Home Office in the current climate.”