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Saturday 24 March 2018

Officers seize thousands of weapons from prison inmates

Knives seized in Mountjoy in recent years
Knives seized in Mountjoy in recent years

Daragh McDonagh

More than 3,500 makeshift daggers and other weapons were seized by prison officers working in Irish jails during the past five years - an average of two every day.

Last year, 435 weapons were recovered from inmates serving time in the State's network of 14 prisons.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 3,687 weapons were seized in prisons between 2012 and 2016, averaging 14 a week over the five-year period.

However, the number of weapons seized has been significantly reduced in recent years as the Irish Prison Service has taken steps to combat contraband entering the system.

Last year, the largest quantity of weapons was seized at Wheatfield Prison in Dublin, where 104 items were confiscated. Some of Ireland's most notorious criminals are detained at Wheatfield, including murderers Derek 'Del Boy' Hutch and Jonathan 'Yuka' Douglas.

Earlier this month, it was reported a state-of-the-art drone crash-landed on the roof of Wheatfield Prison after being used to smuggle contraband into the exercise yard.

The next-highest haul of weapons was seized at Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon.

Irish Independent

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