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Success for operation targeting smuggling at HMP Bedford

Alert message sent 07/03/2019 17:47:00

Information sent on behalf of Bedfordshire Police

A crackdown on smuggling drugs, phones and other illegal items into HMP Bedford continues amid a wave of arrests and prison sentences.

Last year Bedfordshire Police launched a new dedicated operation to target the smuggling of contraband into the prison, including more proactive patrols and closer working with colleagues at HMP Bedford.

Patrols around the prison by officers have resulted in three arrests on suspicion of throwing items over prison walls, so called 'throw overs', so far. These offences remain under investigation.

Three men have also been handed prison sentences at Luton Crown Court this year for attempting to bring prohibited items into HMP Bedford.

Sergeant Ian Leeson, who is coordinating the police response to contraband in the prison, said: “Ourselves and the prison have really stepped up our response to this problem and started to get a grip on the flow of illegal items into HMP Bedford.

“These recent sentences should serve as a warning to all those engaged in prison smuggling that this will not be tolerated and those responsible will be punished.”

In January Joseph Searle, 25, was sentenced to serve an additional year on his jail term, after it was discovered he arranged for drugs and syringes to be smuggled in.

Also that month Filip Tanasescu, 21, of Pedley Road, Dagenham, pleaded guilty to attempting to throw a prohibited item into HMP Bedford. He was sentenced to four months behind bars.

Two weeks ago, a 71-year-old man from Cambridgeshire received a suspended prison sentence. He had wrapped a mobile phone, charger and SIM cards in tobacco and cling film and attempted to hand them over to a prisoner he was visiting.

PJ Butler, governor of HMP Bedford, said: “This outcome demonstrates the unwavering collaborative determination of HM Prison Bedford and the police to detect and prosecute those who attempt to illegally bring drugs into the prison.

“This case also illustrates that those who involve themselves in this type of criminal activity are themselves at great risk of being placed behind bars, and they should absolutely heed this warning.”

As part of the operation police officers have conducted 22 hours of high visibility patrols around the perimeter of the prison in order to deter and intercept throw overs.

This involved foot patrols, engaging with staff from HMP Bedford and the visitor centre, and supporting the search dog inside the prison during searches for visitors.

Work is now ongoing with the prison and local residents to enhance the prison’s security and make it even harder for the would-be smugglers to get contraband inside.

Nicholas Long, head of security and operations at HMP Bedford, said: “Swift action by ourselves and the police has prevented numerous attempts at smuggling contraband into Bedford Prison.

“We are working closer than ever to prevent prohibited items getting into the prison population and will continue to catch those responsible. Smuggling such items into prison is punishable with a jail sentence of up to 10 years. Those looking to do so should really ask themselves if it is worth the risk.”

Anyone with information about the issue can contact us on 101 or via our online reporting centre.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.   
Message sent by
Jon Vale (Police, Communications Officer, County)

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