Ar­rested at the prison gates... imam ac­cused of smug­gling £60k of ‘spice’ for in­mates

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Mar­tin Beck­ford HOME AF­FAIRS ED­I­TOR

A MUS­LIM chap­lain has been ar­rested af­ter al­legedly try­ing to smug­gle £60,000 worth of il­le­gal drugs into one of Bri­tain’s most no­to­ri­ous pris­ons.

Mo­hamed Rawat was caught at HMP Bel­marsh al­legedly car­ry­ing more than 60 sheets of pa­per soaked in the highly ad­dic­tive syn­thetic sub­stance Spice.

The 49-year-old imam was dra­mat­i­cally de­tained at the prison gates af­ter a se­cret probe by the anti-cor­rup­tion unit at the Cat­e­gory A jail in South-East Lon­don.

In­mates there have in­cluded Michael Ade­bo­lajo and Michael Ade­bowale, the ji­hadi killers of sol­dier Lee Rigby.

Vol­un­teer chap­lain Rawat is

‘Lee Rigby’s ji­hadist killers were in­mates’

banned from go­ing to the prison while he is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The au­da­cious plot to al­legedly use a trusted cleric as a mule shows the de­ter­mi­na­tion of crim­i­nal gangs to sell drugs to in­mates.

Deal­ers have re­cruited dozens of prison of­fi­cers to smug­gle in drugs while oth­ers have used drones to fly con­tra­band over jail walls.

Spice is par­tic­u­larly sought af­ter be­hind bars be­cause it can­not be de­tected in drugs tests and can be sprayed onto sheets of pa­per.

All pris­ons now seize let­ters and books sent to in­mates and give them pho­to­copies in case the orig­i­nals are sat­u­rated in Spice. The drug causes sim­i­lar re­ac­tions to cannabis but is far stronger and causes some users to be­come vi­o­lent and delu­sional.

Ear­lier this year Pris­ons Minister Rory Ste­wart said: ‘The great­est driver of prison vi­o­lence is prob­a­bly the surge in the use of Spice and other mind-al­ter­ing drugs.’

Its wide­spread use in pris­ons puts a huge strain on the NHS as am­bu­lances have to be sent to in­mates who have over­dosed, and it has been linked to sui­cides and vi­o­lent deaths in cells.

Last year prison guards at HMP Bel­marsh fell ill af­ter ac­ci­den­tally in­hal­ing the drug.

The jail now has snif­fer dogs, a body scan­ner in re­cep­tion and an ‘itemiser’ that can test for drugs in the post room.

But this year’s in­de­pen­dent mon­i­tor­ing board re­port said drugs con­tinue to get in­side which ‘di­rectly con­trib­utes to the lev­els of vi­o­lent in­ci­dents’.

Born in the Mid­lands, Rawat de­scribes him­self as a ‘re­li­gious leader’ for his lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Scot­land Yard said: ‘On Novem­ber 28, po­lice ar­rested a man at Bel­marsh Prison on sus­pi­cion of pos­ses­sion with in­tent to sup­ply an il­le­gal sub­stance. He has been re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.’

Last night a spokesman for the Prison Ser­vice said: ‘Drugs fuel in­sta­bil­ity and vi­o­lence be­hind bars and we are de­ter­mined to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to stop them from en­ter­ing our pris­ons.’

But a source con­firmed to this news­pa­per: ‘A vol­un­teer chap­lain at HMP Bel­marsh has had their prison ac­cess sus­pended.’

The Mail on Sun­day could not reach Rawat for com­ment last night.

PO­LICE PROBE: Vol­un­teer chap­lain Mo­hamed Rawat

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