Tyne & Wear

Northumberland prison officer suspended for being 'drunk' on duty

HMP Northumberland Image copyright other
Image caption HMP Northumberland is a Category C prison

A prison officer at a privately-run jail has been suspended following claims he was drunk while on duty.

Northumbria Police is investigating reports the officer was found drunk at HMP Northumberland, near Morpeth, on Christmas Day.

The inquiry will examine whether there was any breach of legislation surrounding the management of offenders and the alleged use of alcohol.

The news emerged as the prison announced its director was leaving.

Matt Spencer, who has run the Category C jail since 2011, is leaving to take over HMP Forest Bank in Salford.

Sodexo Justice Services took over HMP Northumberland in December 2013.

A Sodexo spokesman said: "An employee at HMP Northumberland has been suspended following an incident on Christmas Day.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further while a police investigation is under way."

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident and we will be working with staff at HMP Northumberland to carry out inquiries."

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