Police have smashed a suspected drugs and contraband smuggling operation at Kirkham open prison.
Lancashire Police said officers responding to a call about a van parked close to the facility’s perimeter fence yesterday discovered alcohol, designer clothes, eight mobile phones, cash, suspected steroids, and syringes.
The items were destined for closed prisons, with their seizure putting a dent in a prison crime gang’s operation, it is believed.
Officers were called by prison staff at around 7.30pm after the blue and white VW Caddy was seen parked near the fence, close to the MOT test centre in Freckleton Road, at the same time an inmate was found inside the prison grounds out of curfew, The Gazette understands.
The van drove off but was spotted on the M55 and later pulled over by police on the A674 as it was heading towards Blackburn, police said.
A search uncovered a holdall containing the items, as well as USB sticks and other consumables, while HMP Kirkham staff found another two inmates on the prison grounds with vodka, lager, and money, which police believe was thrown over the fence before the van driver became spooked.
The van was taken away on a flatbed truck while a 27-year-old man from Wigan, was arrested and bailed until Sunday, December 18.
Bosses at the minimum security prison are understood to have also launched an investigation, with the inmates believed to be involved placed in segregation, though the Ministry of Justice has yet to comment.