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HomeBreaking NewsHigh-tech scanners stop 50p-sized mobile phones being smuggled into jail

High-tech scanners stop 50p-sized mobile phones being smuggled into jail

'Quick read' news summary

High-tech X-ray body scanners have thwarted 28,000 attempts to smuggle drugs, weapons and phones no larger than a human finger into prisons across England and Wales.

More than 90 scanners deployed at all closed male jails are capable of producing high-resolution images of items no bigger than an inch within the bodies of offenders living in prisons, or on arrival or transfer.

In the past two years, they have uncovered 28,626 items that criminals have attempted to smuggle into jails, including Zanco phones, no wider than a 50p piece and among the smallest in the world.

Bought for as little as £16.99, they can be sold inside prisons for as much as £1,000 because of the ease with which they can be hidden inside a prisoner’s body, clothes or cell.

Anti-corruption teams saw their seizure as critical to stopping inmates either running their crime empires, organising drug deals, having them imported into prisons or threatening victims or rivals.

Other items seized after being spotted on scanners included drugs packed into plastic Kinder Surprise egg shells that were hidden inside the body of a prisoner. A single egg can be worth as much as £5,000 depending on the drug being smuggled into prison.

E-cigarettes packed with narcotics were also found by the X-ray scanners as the devices are allowed within jails. 

There have been seizures of weapons such as lock knives that prisoners have tried to smuggle into jails inside their bodies.

The X-ray scanners are part of a £125 million strategy launched two years ago to stamp out drugs, violence and rule-breaking within jails.

Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, said: “Our tough new security measures in prisons are putting prisoners back on the straight and narrow. Allied to our

High-tech X-ray body scanners have thwarted 28,000 attempts to smuggle drugs, weapons and phones no larger than a human finger into prisons across England and Wales. In the past two years, they have uncovered 28,626 items that criminals have attempted to smuggle into jails, including Zanco phones, no wider than a 50p piece and among the smallest in the world. There have been seizures of weapons such as lock knives that prisoners have tried to smuggle into jails inside their bodies.

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