Prison monitors have called for more sniffer dog searches to stop drink and drugs getting into a Lancashire jail.
The Independent Monitoring Board said they were “very concerned” about the checks being scaled back at HMP Garth, in Ulnes Walton, near Leyland.
The board’s latest report on the Category B jail says: “We are very concerned that dog teams are no longer considered to be high priority.
“Mobile phones, drugs and hooch cause untold damage to both the prisoners and the public at large. A more regular use of dog search teams would enable the number of phones and the large quantities of drugs and hooch to be significantly reduced.”
Last week, Naushad Miah, 20, of Chantry Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, was locked up for 26 weeks for trying to smuggle cannabis into Garth on a visit.
Preston Crown Court heard he showed signs of nervousness when he entered the prison, which alerted security officers to watch him closely.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said prison guards saw Miah try to take something out from inside his trousers when he was talking to the prisoner.
The officers detained him, searched him and recovered nearly two grams of cannabis - around a 16th of an ounce.
Miah, appearing via video link, pleaded guilty to conveying cannabis into prison.
The monitoring board, made up of independent members of the public, also flagged up concerns about healthcare at Garth, due to waiting times and complaints from prisoners. They said that could create problems with prisoners being abusive towards staff.
The report warns: “The board is of the opinion that the PCT (Primary Care Trust) is not fully aware of the complexity in providing both a satisfactory and proactive service.
“This has resulted in prisoners feeling frustrated at both the quality and length of time taken to attend to their needs. This creates confrontational situations which, if the organisation was as it should be, need never arise.
“There are increasing concerns about delays and inefficiencies in the provision of healthcare giving rise to abuse of staff.”
Other aspects of the prison were praised, including the promotion of diversity and providing learning and skills opportunities.
A Prisons Service spokesman said: “Staff use a number of measures to keep illicit items out of prisons, including a regional team of specially trained dogs and handlers.
“Prisoners who are caught with such items are dealt with severely, including possible police action. The report by the Independent Monitoring Board into HMP Garth is being considered by ministers who will respond in due course.”
A Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust spokesman added: “Recent improvements to the healthcare facilities at HMP Garth have...improved access to services with reducing waiting times.”