In Brief

Prison inmates using dead rats to smuggle drugs into jail

Officers at HMP Guys Marsh in Dorset made the gruesome discovery earlier this month

Warning: graphic image below

Inmates at a Dorset prison have been smuggling contraband behind bars using dead rats, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has revealed.

Prison officers at HMP Guys Marsh noticed three dead rats lying inside the perimeter fence while on patrol earlier this month, the BBC reports.

On closer inspection, the guards saw that the rodents had stitches in their stomach. When they were opened up, the bodies of the rats were found to be stuffed with illicit items intended for prisoners.

Officials recovered “five mobile phones and chargers, three SIM cards, cigarette papers, and drugs including spice and cannabis” from inside the rodents, Sky News reports. 

Inmates at the category C men’s prison are thought to have conspired with criminals on the outside, who tossed the stuffed cadavers over the prison fence. The contents would then be sold to other prisoners.

“While tennis balls and pigeons have been used to get contraband into prisons, the MoJ said the find at HMP Guys Marsh earlier this month was the first recorded instance involving rats,” the Dorset Echo reports.

Drones have also proved a headache for UK prisons, with some jails covering their outside areas with netting to prevent remote-operated deliveries of forbidden items.

Contraband smuggling is a growing problem behind bars, says Sky News. Between March 2017 and March 2018, there were 13,119 drug incidents in prisons in England and Wales - a rise of 23% on the previous year.

Guards also seized 10,643 mobile phones from inmates, an increase of 15% on the previous year.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said the latest bizarre case “shows the extraordinary lengths to which criminals will go to smuggle drugs into prison”.

He added: “Drugs and mobile phones behind bars put prisoners, prison officers and the public at risk.

“By toughening security and searching, we can ensure prisons are places of rehabilitation that will prevent further re-offending and keep the public safe.”

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