JAIL chiefs have reported a 50% increase in the number of prison visitors caught smuggling drugs.
A total of 87 visitors were caught with drugs in 2015/16 compared with 57 the previous year, an increase of almost 53%.
Prison chiefs suggested the increase was the result of investing in training and technology to tackle the flow of drugs but Scottish Conservatives claimed it was a symptom of the SNP’s “soft touch” approach to justice.
The figures show that Perth had the highest number of seizures from visitors with 11 in 2014/15 and 13 the following year.
Seizures from visitors at Edinburgh doubled from six to 12, while Glenochil prison, near Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, went from two to 11.
Scottish Conservative north east MSP Alex Johnstone said: “With criminals using increasingly sophisticated means to smuggle drugs into prison, there needs to be reliable efforts to stop this practice.
“A few drugs will always slip through the net, but this increase is scandalous.
“This is something that has to be eradicated straight away otherwise inmates have absolutely no chance of rehabilitation.
“If our jails can’t be trusted to keep drugs from coming in, how can we depend on them to carry out all the other functions required to keep our streets safe?
“This is just another example of the SNP’s soft touch approach to justice.”
A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said: “We recognise the importance of providing a safe and secure environment for our staff and those in our custody.
“Any prohibited items being recovered within our establishments can be attributed to the professionalism and diligence of our staff and partners, advances in technology and the deployment of various methods of detection, such as intelligence gathering and tactical dog units.
“Anyone found in possession of contraband or attempting to smuggle such items into our prisons will reported to the appropriate authorities.”
In July 2012, a female visitor to Addiewell Prison, West Lothian, narrowly avoided jail time herself after being caught smuggling three tablets inside which contained diazepam.
And in 2014, a mother-of-two was jailed after trying to supply her husband with heroin whilst visiting him.
Stacey Wilson was sentenced to four months in prison after she was caught with £200 worth of heroin whilst on the visit to HMP Perth in June.