Arrests over drug-soaked paper prison plot

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The envelopes and lettersImage source, West Midlands Police
Image caption,
The envelopes and letters were intercepted by prison staff

Two men arrested during dawn raids are suspected of plotting to supply drug-soaked paper to prison inmates.

A series of letters have been posted to 10 prisons containing sheets of writing paper soaked in a solution of synthetic drugs like mamba or spice, police said.

The letters were intended for inmates who it is thought would tear off strips of the A4 lined paper to smoke.

They were intercepted by prison security staff.

West Midlands Police said nearly 30 sheets had been recovered and were discoloured and tinged around the edges.

The letters were sent between July 2019 and November 2021 to HMPs Birmingham, Hewell, Featherstone, Oakwood, Brinsford, Whitemoor, Ranby, Swinfen Hall and Lancaster Farms.

The force linked the letters having spotted similarities of handwriting and common spelling mistakes.

On Wednesday they arrested two men, aged 41 and 33, at an address in Bilston, Wolverhampton.

Police seized a drone and several micro mobile phones hidden under a kitchen plinth, which are often smuggled into prisons.

Officers also recovered several litres of solvent which is used in the drug dissolving process.

Det Insp Tom Bowman said: "Tests have shown the sheets of paper had been soaked in a solution of water and synthetic cannabinoid before likely being oven-dried.

"The sheets of paper were concealed inside envelopes claiming to contain private and confidential material, such as legal documents, in the hope they wouldn't be open to the same level of scrutiny as personal mail."

Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins added: "These arrests demonstrate the importance of our £100m investment in prison security measures - not just letter scanners but X-ray body scanners, drugs dogs, and other detection equipment."

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