Chelmsford Prison plea to neighbours over contraband

Chelmsford Prison outside and inside Image copyright Google / PA
Image caption Chelmsford Prison was "notorious" for being "flooded" with contraband goods, a former inmate claimed

A prison has written to people who live nearby asking them to help stop packets of "illicit articles" being thrown over the jail walls.

Chelmsford Prison told residents there had recently been "numerous incidents" of packages being hurled over the wall.

One former inmate said the jail was "notorious" for being "flooded" with mobile phones and synthetic cannabis.

The Ministry of Justice said staff worked "extremely hard" to stop contraband from getting into prisons.

"However more must be done, which is why the Justice Secretary has asked us to look at how we can ensure prisons have the tools in place to tackle this kind of problem," the spokeswoman added.

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Image caption A letter sent from the prison to those who live nearby said there had recently been "numerous incidents" of packages being thrown over walls

A woman who lives near the prison, who did not want to be named, said she had witnessed packages being thrown over the wall "four times in two weeks."

"It's getting quite bad at the minute. The prison wants us to come to an evening to talk about what to do if anything does get thrown over," she said.

"I don't feel frightened, but obviously it's not nice - I always lock the doors and everything."

The former inmate claimed drones were used to fly contraband goods "straight up to prison windows", but the Ministry of Justice said there was no evidence of drones coming into the Chelmsford site.

The spokeswoman said laws had been introduced which mean people who smuggle packages over prison walls could be jailed for up to two years.

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