Staff at Haverigg prison are seizing drugs several times every month, new figures reveal.

It comes as drug finds in jails across England and Wales reached a record high – but prison reform charity the Howard League has warned confiscations do not show "the true scale of the problem".

Ministry of Justice data reveals 66 searches uncovered drugs within HMP Haverigg in the year to March 2020 – the equivalent of roughly six seizures every month.

However, that was significantly down from 100 the previous year, Over the same period, 4% of the mandatory drug tests conducted in the prison returned a positive result, while in 2018-19, the figure stood at 19%.

The figures include psychoactive substances, the abuse of which have increasingly become a concern for prison staff nationally, as well as so-called traditional drugs such as cannabis and methadone.

The most common single drug type found to have been taken in Haverigg prison was buprenorphine, an opioid painkiller, which was found in 30% of samples.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said drugs are a "scourge" in prisons.

She added: "Ministers have spent millions on tightening security, and this may be having an effect, but the best way to reduce the supply of drugs into prisons is to reduce the demand for them.

"Staff time spent monitoring scanners would be better deployed in building relationships and working with people in prison to keep them occupied with work, education, training and exercise." Ms Crook said this is one of the reasons why current Covid-19 restrictions in prisons should be eased "safely and as soon as possible".

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We are finding and stopping more drugs thanks to the tough new measures brought in by this Government, such as airport-style security and x-ray body scanners." He added that it would be "misleading" to draw conclusions on the impact of restricted regimes during lockdown.