DRUGS ON THE WING IN FOOTIE PITCH RUSE
A JAIL is putting guards on touchlines during convicts’ football matches – because drugs and mobiles keep being thrown on to the pitch from outside.
Players are said to have been stuffing illicit packages down their shorts or up their shirts before heading to the showers and then back to cells.
The rogue “throw-ins” have been detected at HMP Altcourse on Merseyside – where Liverpool FC coaches are to run a soccer training course. There is no suggestion the club knows of the ruse.
It has become so prevalent that cons are turning their backs on Spice – now widespread in most jails – and going back to traditional drugs which have been harder for visitors to smuggle in through the gates. A source said: “Some bright spark worked out that footie games were vulnerable to smugglers so security has been stepped up.”
The category B jail in Fazakerley is set in 80 acres of grounds and surrounded by woods, meaning it is easier for packages to be lobbed over fences undetected.
The on-pitch drugs smuggling was revealed in a report by jail watchdog the Independent Monitoring Board. Inspectors said the Altcourse security team had “identified a number of routes” where drugs come in, with a main one being the soccer pitches.
It stated: “The security department is addressing this by the installation of new netting and fencing, enhanced pitch patrols and a more proactive approach to prosecuting offenders.”
It added that the use of Spice had decreased, with lags turning to cannabis instead.
Altcourse director Steve Williams, of private firm G4S which runs the jail on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, said: “The report recognises the sophisticated steps we have taken to tackle this threat.
“We will look carefully at the recommendations made.”