Kirkham smugglers could face two years inside

The VW Caddy was towed away after a package containing drugs and cash amongst other things was found by police

The VW Caddy was towed away after a package containing drugs and cash amongst other things was found by police

Those involved in a smashed smuggling ring at Kirkham open prison face an extra two years inside, the Ministry of Justice said.

One person was arrested and two prisoners at the minimum security prison segregated after officers pulled over a van full of drugs and contraband on Sunday evening.

At the same time, staff at the prison found two inmates with vodka, lager, and cash, which had just been thrown over the prison fence.

A Prison Service spokesman said in a statement: “We have introduced new laws that mean those caught trying to throw packages over prison walls can now face up to two years in jail.

“We take a zero tolerance approach to contraband in our prisons and work closely with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute those involved.”

The Gazette asked to speak to prison bosses about the incident, but was told there would be no further comment while police investigate.

Officers were called to the prison at 7.30pm on Sunday after a blue and white VW Caddy was seen parked close to a perimeter fence, while an inmate was found in the prison grounds out of curfew.

The van drove off but was later pulled over on the A674 as it was heading towards Blackburn. It was found to contain a holdall with eight mobile phones, designer clothing, booze, suspected steroids, and syringes. Other items included USB sticks, though it was not immediately clear what was on them.

Officers believe the items were destined for closed prisons, with their seizure putting a dent in a prison crime gang’s operation.

A 27-year-old man from Wigan was arrested and later bailed until Sunday, December 18, while prison bosses also launched an investigation, just weeks after three inmates absconded in just seven days.