Drugs and phones smuggled into prison are unearthed using new technology
PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 March 2020
Innovative new technology helped prison officers uncover drugs and phones that had been smuggled into a Norfolk prison.
While conducting a regular cell check on February 16 at HMP Wayland in Griston, near Watton, staff found a significant stash of illegal drugs and mobile phones inside a light casing.
The stash contained four phones, a hoard of psychoactive substances - suspected to be spice - and several phone chargers, all of which was confiscated from the prisoner.
They will be placed on report and their crimes, which the Ministry of Justice says could have fuelled violence and hindered rehabilitation, have been referred to police.
The haul was unearthed using advanced detection kit that can pinpoint phone signals, part of a £100m wider investment from the government to boost security across the country’s prison estate.
In addition to phone detection and blocking technology, the cash pot will also fund X-ray body and luggage scanners.
Sonia Walsh, governor at HMP Wayland, said: “This haul reflects the determination and ingenuity of our prison officers to bring culprits to justice at HMP Wayland.
“We will continue our efforts using the latest technology to curb the disruptive elements in prisons so that the we can focus on rehabilitating and reforming prisoners.”
In all, the government is investing a total of £2.75bn to transform the prison estate.
Up to £2.5bn is being spent on providing 10,000 additional prison places and creating modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe.
An additional £156m will help tackle pressing maintenance issues, with the final £100m bolstering security by clamping down on weapons, drugs and mobile phones.
Lucy Frazer, QC MP, prisons and probation minister, added: “Our vigilant prison officers are the first line of defence against highly organised criminal gangs, who will go to any length to smuggle contraband into our jails.
“We are investing £2.75bn to modernise the prison estate and improve security, and we are giving officers extra tools to make their jobs safer including body-worn cameras, police-style restraints and PAVA incapacitant spray.”
In August 2018, it was revealed overcrowding in Norfolk’s prisons was forcing prisoners to share cells, eat, sleep and use the toilet in spaces designed for one.