Mobile phones increase at Lincoln prison

The number of mobile phones and SIM cards confiscated at Lincoln Prison has risen by over 40% over the last six years.

Thousands of mobile phones and SIMs are confiscated at prisons in the UK every year and even more go undetected, with a 56% rise from 2014 to 2017 in England and Wales.

Mobile phones have been used by prisoners in recent years for several things including to orchestrate fatal revenge attacks and to help free a drugs baron.

Between 2011 and 2017, there was a 42.4% increase in the amount of mobile phones confiscated at Lincoln Prison, which had a maximum population of 669 during this time.

The BBC’s Shared Data unit combined information on Hansard, a report of proceedings of the House of Commons and House of Lords, going back five years and Freedom of Information requests to help highlight the issue.

After 28 mobile phones and SIM cards were discovered at Lincoln Prison on Greetwell Road in 2010, and 33 a year later, the figure fell drastically to under five for the next three years.

In 2017, however, the figure rose back up to its highest over the last seven years with 47 mobile phones and SIM cards confiscated.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “These statistics show that we are successfully stopping contraband from entering the prison estate. Better intelligence and improved security measures are allowing us to catch more illicit items than ever before.

“However, we acknowledge that more must be done and as Minister [Rory] Stewart has previously stated, there are only five ways in which contraband can be smuggled into prisons and we are taking steps to tackle all five.

“We’ve addressed flying contraband in by tackling drones, the throwing over of items by the use of nets and searches, the dragging in of items by identifying wires and the posting of drugs by photocopying letters.”