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Dorset Police works with prison service to tackle trafficking of contraband

23 December 2016
Dorset Police has staged an operation to prevent illegal drugs and mobile phones from entering HMP Guys Marsh in Shaftesbury.

The joint operation by Dorset Police and HM Prison Service took place today, Friday 23 December 2016, and is one of a number that have been staged this year across the county. 

Additionally, two people have been charged following a reported incident at HMP YOI Portland.

The aim of today's operation at HMP Guys Marsh was to prevent and reduce illegal drugs, prohibited mobile phones and other contraband being taken into the prison.

The operation took place both inside the prison entrance and surrounding roads outside and visitors were stopped and searched before they entered.

During the operation three women and two men were subjected to searches. No illegal drugs, mobile phones or other contraband was seized and no arrests were made.

Chief Inspector Ben Hargreaves, of Dorset Police, said: “There is a strong link between incidents of criminality and violence inside prisons and the availability of illegal drugs and mobile phones and other contraband.

“Our aim was to tackle drugs and other commodities from entering the prison, which we believe will lead directly to a reduction in violent incidents. Immediate feedback was that visitors were surprised by the scale of our operation.

“Dorset Police works very closely with the governor and staff at HMP Guys Marsh to ensure that allegations of crime are dealt with appropriately.

“We will continue to carry out similar operations throughout  2017 and I hope our day of action at HMP Guys Marsh today sends out a very clear message to prisoners, their visitors and the public that we have a zero tolerance toward trafficking and anyone involved in such activity will be arrested and prosecuted.”

A Prison Service Spokesperson said: "We have announced a major shake-up of the prison system with 2,500 extra prison officers and new security measures to tackle drones, phones and drugs and help make prisons places of safety and reform.

"We take a zero tolerance approach to contraband in prisons and we are stepping up efforts to find and block mobile phones. We are also introducing tougher new sentences for those smuggling mobile phones into prisons.

"We have set out plans to educate prisoners about the dangers of drugs, especially the risks of new psychoactive substances. As part of our strategy to tackle this, we have rolled out new testing and have trained over 300 dogs to detect these substances."

In a separate investigation, officers were called to reports of suspicious activity outside HMP YOI Portland yesterday, Thursday 22 December 2016.

A 36-year-old man from Dorchester has been charged with three counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, two counts of taking prohibited items into prison and one charge of possession of cannabis and is due to appear before Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, Saturday 24 December 2016.

A 39-year-old woman, also from Dorchester, has been charged with three counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and two counts of taking prohibited items into prison. She is due to appear before Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on 30 January 2017.


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