Saughton Prison neighbours to use contraband hotline

Image caption,
Last year there were 311 seizures of drugs and 367 mobile phones recovered at HMP Edinburgh

A hotline to report people throwing suspicious packages over the wall of an Edinburgh prison has been opened to neighbours living nearby.

The PrisonWatch number - 0131 444 3111 - is for locals who see suspicious activity around Saughton Prison.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill launched the initiative and said it was akin to neighbourhood watch schemes.

Last year there were 311 seizures of drugs and 367 mobile phones recovered at HMP Edinburgh.

Mr MacAskill said: "The public are rightly concerned when they read about the presence of drugs or other items in prisons.

"However, they may see suspicious activity around the wall of the prison or even amongst persons approaching the prison to visit someone.

"They may be unsure where to report such incidents or even how. This makes it clear."

'Used as currency'

Ch Supt Gill Imery, of Lothian and Borders Police, said the problem of contraband being smuggled into prisons had long been an issue for the police and the prison service.

She added: "Items such as drugs and mobile phones are often used as currency within prisons and can support the existence and workings of organised crime groups.

"They are also detrimental to efforts to break the offending cycle and rehabilitate prisoners."

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said it was determined to use "every means possible in our continual fight against this criminality".

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