THE Prison Service has insisted it has a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on drugs in prison after a gang was sentenced for smuggling contraband.
Five members of the gang, run by two cellmates at Winchester prison, were sentenced to custody terms for their roles in bringing in phones and drugs to the jail.
In a statement issued after the sentencing, a Prison Service spokeswoman said: ‘We take a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in our prisons, and are clear that anyone found with contraband will be subject to disciplinary action and police investigations.
‘We are taking unprecedented action to stop the supply and use of drugs, including an innovative new drug testing programme, over 300 dogs to detect psychoactive substances, and making it a criminal offence to possess psychoactive substances in prison.
‘We have also set up a specialist team of prison and police officers to tackle the threat of drones, and to bring to justice those bringing contraband into our prisons.
‘These reforms have seen 225kg of illicit drugs recovered from prisons in 2016 alone.’
The service is also hoping to increase staffing in the UK.
As exclusively revealed in The News yesterday, Ben Carr was serving a sentence for conspiring to murder mother-of-five Pennie Davis when he and a cellmate in Winchester used women on the outside to bring in steroids and small mobile phones.
He was handed a three-year term on top of his 30-year minimum term life sentence.
Carr 25, now of HMP Whitemoor, Cambridgeshire, involved his sister Danielle Carr, 30, of Hawkhill, Dibden, in the operation, as well as a woman who thought he was wrongly convicted.
Former Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes posted on Twitter to say the situation was ‘scandalous’.
Speaking about the Winchester jail smuggling, he said: ‘Scandalous this can happen from inside prison.
‘Management must be changed.
‘Punishment given really quite ineffective for long-term prisoners.’