PRISONERS have been caught trying to make their own “hooch” six times at an Oxfordshire jail.
The attempts to ferment liquid or suspected hooch were confiscated by Bullingdon Prison from 2010 to 2013. They were among 244 illegal items recovered from the prison, in Arncott, near Bicester, figures obtained by the Oxford Mail show.
Items seized included 87 mobile phones, along with SIM cards, top- up cards, chargers and “improvised” batteries.
Suspected drugs, drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized 103 times, three more were found in the post and two from a visitor.
DVDs, a Kindle book reader, memory sticks, an improvised rope and cash were also confiscated.
Some seven weapons, including an Army knife and six improvised weapons, were removed from the prison, which takes up to 1,114 men.
Sexually graphic sketches were also found. These are thought to relate to Adam Paul Gregory, who was serving time for taking indecent photos of children at Bullingdon Prison, when police discovered 107 “hand-drawn indecent images of children” which he said were for “his own sexual interest”.
But there was also evidence that he had given some of the drawings to another inmate, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC told London’s Appeal Court in October 2012.
However, the court accepted the images did not depict the “actual abuse of children” and his two-year-sentence was cut to 18 months on appeal.
The Ministry of Justice responded to a Freedom of Information request for a list of items smuggled into and or confiscated from 2010/11 to 2012/13. It was unable to provide any details of whether legal action was taken.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “We use a range of measures to keep prohibited items out of prisons, including drugs dogs.
“Anyone found with such items, and this includes mobile phones, will be dealt with severely.”
Howard League for Penal Reform spokesman Mark Gettleson said: “It is obviously concerning when contraband material enters prison, especially Class A drugs.
“These can destabilise life inside the prison and significantly affect someone’s chances of turning their back on crime. However, as the Government proceeds with cuts to the number of prison staff while refusing to address the fact we needlessly imprison far too many people, incidents such as these could become ever more common.
“Reports highlight a staggering number of people who become addicted to drugs while in custody.”