A SIGNIFICANT number of drugs, mobile phones, and improvised weapons have been recovered from HMP Hewell following a major operation by prison staff.

The pre-planned search involved prison staff from across the country, specialist search teams and dogs, in a bid to track down illegal contraband.

323 finds, including 79 mobile phones, 29 improvised weapons, over 50 litres of alcohol, and a large quantity of drugs, were recovered during the tactical intelligence operation.

Gareth Sands, governor at the Tardebigge jail, said: “Improving safety and security at HMP Hewell is my main priority.

“This operation had been in the making for a number of months, and I am pleased to see such positive results. I am grateful for the hard work of all those involved.

“There have been good levels of order and control following the operation as we continue to drive performance improvement in a number of areas across the prison.”

The haul was revealed by Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah today (November 30), who believes the success shows the benefits of cross-team working to thwart criminals behind bars.

He said: “I am determined to stem the flow of drugs into our prisons. This operation highlights the value of intelligence led and multi-agency operations.

“This shows the determination of prison staff to disrupt this behaviour, while sending a clear message that we will not tolerate this kind of activity.

“Those who peddle drugs in an attempt to thwart reform should face the full force of the law, which means a police investigation and extra time behind bars.

“I want to pay tribute to the prison staff for their efforts and dedication to preventing contraband from getting into their prisons, which we know as a detrimental impact on stability and progress.”

Government action to tackle the supply and use of drugs includes a drug-testing programme, the training of over 300 specialist drug dogs, and upgrades to CCTV cameras.

Body worn cameras are also being rolled out and £2 million is being spent on handheld and portable mobile phone detectors to help clamp down on drug-dealing behind bars.

In addition, detection equipment and legislation as part of a £2m investment will help to detect and block phones from being used in prisons.