A drone was discovered delivering narcotics and contraband to the HMP Manchester Prison. The four-rotor drone was only spotted by police after the operator lost control of the UAV, prompting it to crash into the prison’s exercise yard.
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This event immediately drove prison guards to perform a thorough check into the area. The prison, otherwise known as Strangeways, houses a number of convicted murderers, rapists, and even terrorists. One former inmate admitted that the use of drones in the prison area is nothing new, and in fact, smugglers have been doing it for a while now.
“Drones have been used to get phones and drugs into Strangeways for about a year,” he said. “Someone parks up outside the prison in a van with a drone and a camera on it.” He added that the drone flies over the wall and someone inside the jail is tasked to climb up the radiator, open the window, and pull the drone inside.
The former inmate even stated that the whole process takes less than thirty seconds to complete, and staying completely under the radar is possible as security cameras are not pointed toward the sky.
Contraband and drugs are quite big in value when sold inside the prison. The price of a $27 bag of heroin can quickly soar up to a staggering $132 inside, while smartphones and other gadgets sell between $1,000 and $1,300.
According to reports, drone usage in prison areas began back in 2014, with two cases recorded that year. The numbers rose dramatically in 2015 with 33 reported cases. Items smuggled included drugs, phones, SIM cards, and USB drives.
“It’s like ordering a Chinese,” the former inmate shared. “It’s that easy. And it’s lucrative.”
Glyn Travis of the Prison Officer’s Association says that the use of drones will continue to be on the rise, as criminals will find every means possible to fund criminal activity inside the prison. Drones cost around $398 or $530 in the United Kingdom, but the hefty price tag does not scare off criminals since they can quickly receive their ROI immediately after just one illegal operation.
Strangeways and other penitentiaries will continue controlling illegal drone entry. In a statement, the prison announced that they are now addressing the issue, while the Ministry of Justice imposed a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding contraband in prison and worked with the police to ensure inmates caught operating such scams are fined with longer jail time.