CHRISTMAS cards have been used for more than sharing festive cheer as it was revealed that a Scots prison received mail for inmates containing drugs.
It seems that family and friends of convicts in the Polmont Young Offenders Institution have abused the spirit of Christmas to send illegal substances to their loved ones.
A source at the jail said that officers had been sifting through the raft of Christmas cards to find any stuffed with drugs.
Various methods were used to search the festive post including sniffer dogs and scanning machines.
Cards with cut-out sections of typical Christmas images such as Santa and snowmen had been altered to so that they could be used to conceal drugs.
Substances found to be hiding in Santa’s sack or a snowman’s top hat, have ranged from valium to ecstasy.
Children’s homemade cards have also been used to transport drugs inside the jail in a bid to confuse staff hunting for drugs.
Prison workers are said to be relieved now that the period for festive deliveries, and Christmas drug smuggling, has ended.
The source said: “There have been about six or seven seizures a day over the last few weeks. It just seems to go crazy at this time of year.
“Around Christmas time the demand for drugs increases, even for those who don’t use themselves. Drugs can be used as a valuable jail currency.
“The volume of Christmas cards being send to the jail is incredible. There are over 700 boys in Polmont and some of them can receive scores of cards from their friends, family and associates.”
Despite the large amount of cards received at the prison and the potential to use them to deliver drugs to inmates, it is unlikely that prison chiefs would ban Christmas cards.
The source added: “On the other side of the coin you can’t just ban all Christmas cards – that would create absolute mayhem as they are critical to the morale of the prisoners, who find this a difficult time to be locked up.
“It just means that the authorities are sent into overdrive trying to root out the incoming drugs and although that’s an ongoing battle, officers will be breathing a sigh of relief that the card season’s over.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Prison Service confirmed an increase of drugs delivered to the Polmont jail and stated staff had been ‘intercepting’ these.
He explained that some substances had been sent to police for analysis but declined to comment on the quantity of drugs found.
He added: “There are a number of ingenious ways people try to introduce contraband and we have a number of ingenious ways that we find it.”