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A worrying amount of drones are delivering drugs to UK prisons

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David Cornish
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Drones. Good for pissing off your neighbours, bothering airborne wildlife and smuggling contraband into US jails - a trend that's hovered its way over the Atlantic to become a problem in British prisons.

Information obtained through a Press Association Freedom of Information request shows that in the last three years there's been a 1,550 per cent rise in the number of drones found delivering contraband to UK prisons. 

None were reported in 2013, while two were reported in 2014. Last year, that number rose to 33 - and that's just the ones the prison authorities know about.

Here are the items found on board the drones in those 35 incidents:

  • Drugs - recovered from six drones
  • Mobile phones - recovered from eight drones, used to organise criminal activity outside of the prison
  • USB sticks
  • Phone chargers
  • Drones for use within the prison - recovered 19 times
  • Unknown packages - information wasn't recorded
  • Miscellaneous - 14 sightings of drones, in which packets weren't recovered
  • "Drone only" - reported six times, in which the Ministry of Justice couldn't be sure if a drone sighted near a prison was used for illegal activity

"The use of drones to smuggle traditional drugs, NPS (legal highs) and mobiles phones into prisons is a serious concern," said Mike Rolfe, Chairman of the Prison Officers Association.

New legislation now makes it illegal land a drone in a prison or to use a drone to drop in psychoactive substances, with a possible two year prison sentence facing anyone caught attempting to do so.

Here's hoping the Ministry of Justice look to employ a similar anti-drone system as the Dutch police force - with huge, badass eagles.

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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