Hundreds of drug seizures at Lothian prisons

Addiewell saw 262 confiscations. Picture: TSPL
Addiewell saw 262 confiscations. Picture: TSPL
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DRUGS are being found on inmates in Lothians prisons every day on average, newly released figures reveal.

There were 374 seizures of narcotics in a year - 207 at privately-run Addiewell and 167 at Saughton.

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Campaigners labelled the numbers “shocking” while prison chiefs praised staff for cracking down on he problem.

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary – “This data confirms the shocking quantity of drugs, weapons and phones still making their way into Scotland’s prisons.

“We know that prisoners being caught with prohibited items has increased 50 percent since the SNP came to power.

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“The SNP Government need to get a grip. Prisons must be safe and secure environments so that offenders can be rehabilitated.”

In addition to drugs, weapons were confiscated 50 times between September 2017 and September 2018 - 31 at Saughton and 19 at Addiewell.

Hidden mobile phone were seized over the same period 36 times at Addiewell and 20 at Saughton.

The Evening News reported last year how killer John Reid posed for naked “cellfies” taken inside Saughton on a banned mobile phone.

Reid was pictured smiling while bathing in a sink in a series in images also featuring fellow prisoners Michael Roberts and Lee Ridgway.

Then only 16, Reid killed delivery driver Simon San, 40, with a single punch outside the San family’s takeaway in Lochend in 2010.

The figures released under freedom of information laws also revealed 42 confiscations of drugs during the year at Polmont Young Offenders Institution.

There were also four mobile phones and 25 weapons seized at the Falkirk site over the same period.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “We recognise the importance of providing a safe and secure environment for our staff and those in our care.

“Any prohibited items being recovered within our establishments can be attributed to the professionalism and diligence of our staff and partners, advances in technology and the deployment of various methods of detection, such as intelligence gathering and tactical dog units.

“A comprehensive range of robust security measures are in place to prevent the introduction of contraband into our prisons.

“Significant investment continues to be made in the development of new technology and staff training to detect, deter and reduce the availability and supply of illegal drugs.

“Anyone found in possession of contraband or attempting to smuggle such items into our prisons will reported to the appropriate authorities.

“The possession of a mobile phone in prison is a criminal offence. If we receive information to suggest that prisoners are in possession of such devices we will take all appropriate action and report it to the relevant authorities.”

andy.shipley@jpimedia.co.uk