It has been discovered that criminals have started using drones to smuggle super-strength drugs and mobile phones into prisons. The crafty ploy was detected when a craft carrying a consignment of cannabis crashed into a secluded area of the Category B Bullingdon prison in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
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The well-planned delivery saw the vessel operating in one of the very few regions of the prison not covered by CCTV cameras, suggesting its operator was well-informed about the jail’s security arrangement. It is assumed that the super-strength skunk and selection of mobile phones and chargers it was carrying were ordered by prisoners in time for the Christmas celebration.
Serious security concerns have been raised due to the fact that the undercover operation was only discovered when a drone crashed and this left prison officials wondering how many successful deliveries were already made in recent years. However, we are still in the dark whether the drone was being operated by an individual trying to help a friend or relative on the inside or if an organized criminal gang were behind it.
An “insider” was quoted by The Sun as saying, “The drone was in a part of the jail without CCTV. It was well-planned. We’ve no idea how many times this method of smuggling has been used before.”
Glyn Travis of the Prison Officers Association added, “Drones are a major security issue. They are being used more frequently. It was only luck that this one crashed before it could be emptied.”
Drones have formerly been used to rustle contraband into prisons. The most recent case was at Strangeways where prison staff found a drone stuffed with contraband crashed into the yard.
The current punishment for being caught using a drone to smuggle illegal items into prison is two years in jail. Theoretically, the sentence could be longer, depending on what is being conveyed.
The Ministry of Justice wishes that the law would be extended to include legal items such as mobile phones and so-called legal highs. It also desires that landing a drone on prison property, regardless of whether it is carrying anything, should be criminalized.
Analogous punishments will be meted on prisoners found in possession of banned items or items believed to have been smuggled in from the outside. Prison warders currently work with police and prosecutors to prolong the sentences of those discovered with such items.
According to Daily Mail reports, in spite of predictions that drones will be one of this year’s most popular Christmas presents, parents may be forced to register the purchase with the local authorities who can track the craft in case it becomes involved in any unlawful or dangerous activities.
Four drones nearly collide with commercial aircraft at British airports during a single month this summer. It has been reported that over the past six months, at least, ten drones reportedly crashed into prison property or in the region immediately outside the walls.