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NewsCourt & CrimeHuge increases in drug seizures at Scottish jails

Huge increases in drug seizures at Scottish jails

MASSIVE increases in seizures of heroin, cannabis and tablets across Scotland’s prisons have been revealed by prison officials.

The quantity of heroin seized in Scottish prisons has gone up from 388 grams in 2014, to 854 grams in 2015, a staggering 120% increase.

It has also been revealed that the number of cannabis recoveries have risen by 87.6%, from 1790 grams in 2014 to 3358 grams the following year.

And the quantity of tablets discovered throughout Scottish prisons is 20929 grams, up from 14176 grams the previous year, an increase of 47.7%.

The figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information (FOI), request show that HMP Grampian has among the highest number of seizures despite opening just two years old.

The new £150 million jail is capable of holding 500 offenders and is the first purpose built community facing prison within Scotland.

The prison has seen increases in seizures of all the drugs mentioned in the statistics, including an incredible 1098% rise in cannabis recoveries, up to 850 grams from just 71 grams in 2014.


The quantity of heroin, cannabis and tablets seized at Scottish prisons has increased
The quantity of heroin, cannabis and tablets seized at Scottish prisons has increased


Glenochil prison, near Tullibody in Clackmannanshire, was the worst offender when it came to heroin seizures in 2015.

Prison officials reported that just over 200 grams of the drug were recovered in 2015, up nearly half on the 107.3 grams in 2014.

Shotts prison, in North Lanarkshire, suffers the ignominy of recovering the largest quantity of both cannabis and tablets.

The jail seized over 971 grams of cannabis in 2015, up 14% on the previous year, whilst the number of tablets seized has gone up by a staggering 270%, from 1502 grams in 2014 to 5557 grams in 2015.

The Scottish Government claims that a wide range of security measures have been developed in order to reduce the supply of illegal drugs entering Scotland’s prisons.

According to their own website, they say: “Significant investment is being made in the development of new technology to combat the growing threat of illegal commodity entering the prison estate.

“Staff training and development in this area is maintained in an attempt to detect, disrupt and deter those individuals attempting to introduce drugs into the prison environment.”

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.”

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: “These statistics make grim reading. It’s absolutely appalling and totally unacceptable that there has been this huge increase in the amount of drugs confiscated within the prison estate.

“As criminals and prisoners become ever more innovative about how to smuggle these drugs into a supposedly secure environment, it’s essential that prison staff are one step ahead and that the penalties for smuggling drugs act as a real deterrent.

“The Scottish Conservatives have long argued for the use of sniffer dogs in every prison and for regular drug testing.

“Clearly the SNP needs to get a grip on this situation before it gets any worse.”

In March 2014, one man was convicted of throwing packages over the prison wall at HMP Edinburgh and sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Two men were found guilty of smuggling £16,500 worth of diamorphine and £1000 worth of cocaine into the same prison using the spine of books.

In December 2015, a an ex-prison officer was sentenced to a year behind bars after she was caught supplying drugs to her inmate husband by stashing them down her underwear.

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