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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Makeshift ladder and phones seized at Cumbria jail

MOBILE phones, fermenting liquid for hooch and an improvised ladder were among the banned items seized at Cumbria’s only jail last year.

Figures released to the Evening Mail following a freedom of information request show a total of 81 banned items seized from inmates at HMP Haverigg in 2013.

Mobile phones were the most frequently seized item, with 42 phones seized within 12 months – with nine phones being seized from inmates alone. Five sim cards were also seized from inmates.

The Evening Mail has previously reported the prison’s struggle to control the use of mobile phones behind bars and in 2012 we ran an investigation which found seven inmates posting photographs from their jail cells to social media site Facebook.

Under UK law inmates caught with prohibited items can be put before a judge and have extra time added to their sentence or be put on “basic” custody which means any time out of their cell is limited and there are no added extras, such as TVs or stereos, allowed in their cells.

Batches of fermenting liquid, which would be used to make “hooch” for inmates to drink, were seized 12 times from the jail. A recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of prisons noted 31 per cent of inmates thought it was “easy” to get hold of alcohol while behind bars and 44 per cent of inmates claimed it was easy to get hold of illegal drugs. However, the figures released show just seven instances of illegal substances being seized – two of which were in bundles with mobile phones and phone chargers.

An improvised ladder was among the other items seized.

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