Sunday Life

**This problem could be solved by letting certain people--and I use the term loosely--visit through plexiglass.

Terror jailbirds put bounty on dog's head

By Stephen Breen
11 April 2004

CAGED terrorists last night placed a sick bounty on the number one sniffer dog, at Maghaberry Prison.

Drug-taking jailbirds, at the high-security prison, want to poison the Labrador - who can't be named for 'security reasons' - because of its ongoing success rate in sniffing out drugs.

Although bounties were placed on other sniffer dogs at the jail by loyalist paramilitaries, in 2002, the fresh reward has been placed on the prison's most successful sniffer dog.

Dope-smoking inmates - fed-up with their visitors being caught smuggling drugs into the prison - have put a whopping £500 bounty on the top dog.

We also understand prisoners on the jail's integrated wings are angry, after the dog helped discover a secret mobile phone.

A senior prison source told us that prisoners - including loyalist and dissident republicans - will go to "any lengths" to have the dogs killed.

The source also claimed that prisoners have openly been talking about poisoning the dog, during planned visits.

Said the source: "The inmates, especially those who like to smoke dope now and again, are absolutely raging about this particular dog's success rate.

"The other dogs are good - but they are nowhere near as successful as the dog, which has a bounty on its head.

"It seems to be that every week the dog is finding something which the prisoners should not be bringing in, and this includes drugs.

"The dog has been a great success at the jail, and you can see the worry on some of the inmates' face during visiting times.

"It just goes to show you some of the lengths the inmates will go to get their own way at Maghaberry - they want it to be like the old Maze, where they control everything."

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said sniffer dogs would continue to operate at the jail.

Added the spokeswoman: "We have a responsibility to prevent the smuggling of drugs into the prison, and all our dogs do is indicate the contamination of a person, or clothing, with drugs.

"We need these dogs at the prison, because apart from the health problems caused by drugs, they also lead to intimidation and bullying, and an unsafe environment for staff and prisoners.

"We're committed to tackling the problems of drugs head on, with every measure at our disposal - there can be no half measures."

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