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Prison bosses look to new technology to tackle drug drones

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Mountjoy Prison

Mountjoy Prison

Mountjoy Prison

Prison bosses are examining ways to stop drones operating near jails after two incidents in three days where drugs were dropped into Mountjoy using the remote-controlled devices.

Motion sensor cameras are to be installed at jails, and evolving technology such as signal jammers and interception techniques may also be explored.

Six drones have been recovered by the Irish Prison Service in the last 18 months in locations around the country after failed attempts to drop contraband into jail yards.

And with two attempts to drop drugs into Mountjoy in the past week prison bosses are determined to stop the hi-tech devices from delivering contraband to inmates.

This week the Herald reported how associates of convicted criminals used a drone to try to land a supply of drugs into a yard at the Dublin jail for the first time.

The drugs were stuffed into the plastic capsules used to hold small toys inside the popular Kinder Surprise eggs.

One prisoner climbed up a steel fence in a bid to get them but he cut his hands on the razor wire.

He didn't succeed in getting the package, which was later taken down by staff.

The efforts of prison staff to control the situation led to a confrontation in the yard.

Alert

The alert was sparked when prison staff spotted the high- tech drone flying in over the medical unit.

But the thwarted efforts to land the drugs didn't deter the suppliers, and another attempt was made last Sunday, just three days after the first mission.

"It was the same yard, and again the drugs landed on the net and one prisoner climbed up to try and get them down but cut himself on the razor wire," a source said.

"But this time they managed to get through the wire and onto the roof of the jail. They were taken down by staff using a cherry picker."

Staff later removed the contraband which had been dropped from the drone.

"The Prison Service is aware of an increase in the use of drones over the last couple of years and measures are in place to counteract this," said a prison service spokesman.

"Existing measures include regular patrols by staff and monitoring of cameras, while exercise yards have netting fitted to prevent contraband being dropped or thrown into that area.

"In addition, the installation of infrared and motion sensor cameras will commence shortly.

"The Irish Prison Service are also exploring a number of technology options to deal with the problem."


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