Prison seizures of drugs, booze, weapons and mobiles a “huge problem”


SCOTS prisoners have been caught with more than 67,000 pills, 11kgs of cannabis and 2.4kgs of heroin in the past three years alone.

And more than 1,000 weapons – many of them home-made – and 1,400 mobile phones have also been seized since 2011.

Some 550 litres of alcohol have been confiscated in the past two years, more than 154 at Glasgow’s Low Moss prison alone.

DRUGS tablets

The amount of banned and illegal items confiscated since 2011 was described by the Scottish Tories as a “huge problem”.

The figures are all the more disturbing as the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has tried to crack down on the extent of smuggling into jail.

The SPS, responding to a Freedom of Information request, said 67,334 ‘miscellaneous tablets’ had been seized by officials – an average of eight each for the 7,845 inmates.

As well as pills, 2,469 grams of heroin, 1,002 grams of cocaine, 10,712 grams of cannabis and 820 grams of amphetamines were found.

HMP Aberdeen, Shotts and Edinburgh all topped lists for the most drugs being smuggled in.

Aberdeen prison, which closed earlier this year, had 199.87 grams of cocaine seized by officials since 2011.

HMP Shotts had 2060.3 grams of cannabis and 9544.5 ‘misc tablets’ found on prisoners behind bars.

The North Lanarkshire prison also confiscated 416 grams of heroin, 152.6 grams of cocaine, 165 mobile phones and 82 weapons, including blades, knifes and glass.

At HMP Edinburgh 363 grams of heroin were found, along with 145 grams of cocaine, 1490.2 grams of cannabis and 45 grams of amphetamines.

Some 1,074 weapons including knives, “Stanley blades” and “homemade unknown” weapons have been confiscated by prison officers in Scotland since 2011.


In the past three years, 1,412 mobile phones have been taken from inmates.

Large amounts of contraband were also seized at Scotland’s two private prisons.

Over 1,194 grams of drugs including heroin, cocaine and cannabis were discovered at Addiewell prison in West Lothian along with 8776 pills.

Also found were 21.5 litres of alcohol, 139 mobile phones, and 133 weapons.

At Kilmarnock Prison, East Ayrshire, more than 546 grams of heroin, cocaine and amphetamines were discovered by staff, while 7416 tablets were also found.

121 weapons were confiscated, as well as 90 phones. 86 litres of alcohol were also seized by guards.

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: “It is impossible to stop absolutely everything getting into jails.

“But the sheer scale of these discoveries shows we have a huge problem.

“Perhaps visiting arrangements in certain situations have to be looked at, and getting tougher on those who risk smuggling drugs and weapons inside would also serve as a deterrent.

“The high number of finds shows exactly why we need more sniffer dogs in prisons to ensure when an item does arrive illegally, it can be rooted as quickly as possible.”

Earlier this year drug dealers Wayne Ernest Johnston and David Dunbar were jailed after £16,500 or heroin and £1000 of cocaine was smuggled into Edinburgh prison in the spine of books.

A third man, Colin Valentine, was also jailed after he was spotting packaged over the wall outside HMP Edinburgh on “numerous occasions.”

Last March, solicitor David Wilson, from Dunfermline, was jailed after he was caught trying to smuggle drugs and a phone into HMP Edinburgh in 2011.

Officers searched Wilson’s car and found various drugs, such as Cannabis resin and diazepam and electronic equipment, including phones, chargers, and sim cards, after receiving a tip off.

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