Prison officers injured halting drug smugglers

28/01/2005 - 17:13:00

Three prison officers were injured today as they tried to stop drugs being smuggled into a Northern Ireland jail.

A female warder’s wrist was broken during trouble at visiting hours in the high security Maghaberry complex near Lisburn, Co Antrim.

Forty-two Diazepam tablets were later seized, the Prison Service confirmed.

As police launched an investigation, a Maghaberry spokesman hit out at those behind the violence.

He said: “As well as the harm caused by drugs and the bullying and intimidation associated with them, it is disappointing that some people continue to abuse the visits system which is designed to enable prisoners and their families maintain close contact.”

The attacks came after staff spotted two visitors allegedly passing the narcotics to a prisoner.

As they tried to stop the visit, a nearby inmate became abusive.

He punched one female officer in the face, leaving her needing hospital treatment, the Prison Service said.

A second woman guarding the room suffered a suspected broken wrist and a male officer was left with facial bruises.

Three visitors angered that their appointments were delayed because of assaults had to be removed after threatening staff.

“This type of incident serves to highlight the problems posed by drugs being smuggled in prison,” the spokesman added.

“Maghaberry has made a lot of progress in recent months to create an atmosphere in the visiting room where children and families, in particular, can enjoy their visits in a safe environment free from intimidation and violence.

“The staff involved are to be commended for their actions in preventing drugs being smuggled into the prison.”

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