Huge rise in illicit mobile phones in Leeds prison

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THERE has been a huge spike in the number of illicit mobile phones - which can now be as small as a thumb - confiscated from prisoners in HMP Leeds.

A total of 227 phones or SIM cards were seized at the prison last year, compared to just seven in 2014, analysis by the BBC Shared Data Unit shows.

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While the problem is on the increase nationwide, the figures for Leeds are above average, with the equivalent of one phone seized for every five prisoners.

This could be partly due to a crackdown on contraband.

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Frances Crook, chief executive of The Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Tens of thousands of smuggled mobile phones have been found in prisons in the last few years. Prisons are awash with them. As fast as staff find the phones, more are smuggled in.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Better intelligence and improved security measures are allowing us to catch more illicit items than ever before.”

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