By Kelly Bonner
By Kelly Bonner
Staff at a Teesside jail say new technology to stop drugs and mobile phones getting into the prison is making a "huge difference".
At the height of the problem, up to 14 ambulances were being called to the jail every day.
Since then, the prison has become the only one in England and Wales to install eye and full body scanners, alongside machines that can instantly identify drugs.
Prison guards have been given a new machine to crack down on inmates smuggling in spice.
Local Democracy Reporting Service
The highly-dangerous form of synthetic cannabis “spice” has been linked to the growing number of deaths of homeless people and rough sleepers in central London.
Thirteen homeless people died in the borough of Westminster in 2018, up from six in 2017, according to a new Office of National Statistics (ONS) report.
This follows five deaths in 2016, and 16 in 2015.
A Westminster Council spokesman confirmed of the 13 people who died last year, eight had been found on the streets.
The spokesman said: “The sad fact is the rate of deaths linked to rough sleeping is rising as we continue to see ever increasing numbers of people arriving on the streets in Westminster.
“In Westminster we saw eight deaths on the streets while others happened in other accommodation, as the effects of rough sleeping and drug/alcohol addiction took their toll. All are individual tragedies.
“Spice is a consistent factor in rough sleeper deaths, and Westminster City Council has led the campaign to have this insidious and dangerous drug classified as a class A substance. Spice remains a major concern and our street teams offer a range of programmes to people with substance addiction.”
Spice is described by the Talk To Frank services’s website as a synthetic, cannabinoid that is often mixed with dried herbs and sold in sachets, and is typically smoked with tobacco.
Its high strength and potency mean it can cause: anxiety, paranoia, fits, seizures, dangerous increases in heart rate and suicidal thoughts. It is also linked to acute kidney injury.
By Monica Rimmer
A man caught with a kit for making the banned synthetic substance Spice has been jailed for a year.
Paul Benson, 48, of Barncroft Avenue, Seaton, Workington, was pulled over by police for driving erratically in west Cumbria last August, and officers found three mobile phones, a set of digital weighing scales, £850 cash and 325 diazepam tablets.
Also located was a herbal material weighing almost half a kilo, which Carlisle Crown Court heard could be "impregnated" with the contents of two bottles of liquid in the car and sold for up to £4,900.
His lawyer Paul Tweddle conceded that Benson had been transporting a "drug-making kit, to make spice".
Benson admitted possessing drugs and substances with intent to supply, criminal property and a fake blue parking badge.