Tees

Teesside prisons seizures find firearm, knives and drugs

Holme House Prison Image copyright Google
Image caption Seven weapons were also found at HMP Holme House, a category B prison for around 1,200 inmates

Drugs, knives and a firearm have been found in three Teesside prisons over the past nine months.

A Freedom of Information request by BBC Tees revealed more than 100 drug seizures at Holme House, Deerbolt and Kirklevington Grange.

One included a whole cannabis plant while a further 106 were of legal highs, mostly of the synthetic cannabis known as Spice.

The Ministry of Justice said it was looking at ways to tackle the problem.

It uses sniffer dogs, cell searches and mandatory tests to find drugs in prison.

'More to be done'

The figures, which relate to the period between July 2015 and April 2016, also showed that 123 mobile phones were confiscated.

During that time seven weapons were found at Holme House, including one firearm and four knives or blades.

At Kirklevington Grange, two knives or blades were discovered and at Deerbolt, six weapons including one blunt instrument were seized.

In January, the Prison Officers Association warned Spice represented the biggest threat to the prison system for 20 years.

Image caption Almost all the seizures of legal highs were of the synthetic cannabis, Spice

The Ministry of Justice said cell searches and mandatory drugs tests helped punish those responsible and prison staff are working with police to restrict the supply of substances into the prison.

"We have passed laws so that those smuggling packages over prison walls, including drugs, face up to two years in prison," a statement said.

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

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