Weapons alert sparks jail lock-down

FEARS over weapons being stashed by inmates at a Northumberland prison led to a lockdown being launched by guards while a thorough search was carried out.

Officers acting on intelligence swooped on cells at HMP Acklington last Wednesday morning after being told that a prisoner had an unknown weapon in his possession.

They spent more than 48 hours scouring the Category-C jail, which houses rapists, murderers and paedophiles, but despite the intense operation, which included the use of detection dogs, nothing untoward was found.

A spokesman said: “Staff at HMP Acklington undertook a lockdown search for contraband which concluded at 11am on Friday. Specialist dogs were called in to assist the search but nothing was found.”

As revealed in last year’s special series on the prison featured in the Gazette, tackling the smuggling of contraband is one of the biggest problems faced by staff at the establishment.

As well as weapons – or even harmless items which can be converted into them – officers also have to be vigilant for drugs being brought in by visitors.

Mobile phones, which are highly valuable behind bars, are also strictly prohibited.