Thousands of drugs, including pills, crack and heroin, have been seized from inmates at Greenock prison over the past two years, the Telegraph can reveal.
Nearly 12,000 illicit tablets – along with steroids, rue valium and the dangerous synthetic cannabinoid “spice” – have been found and removed from prisoners in the prison since 2020.
Our investigation also found that a widely abused national policy of prisoner phones, which saw incendiary Greenock mobster Robert Warnock plotting deadly attacks from behind bars, led to dozens of cellphone and card seizures. Illegal SIMs at Gateside.
A total of 22 weapons and 422 drug seizures have taken place at HMP Greenock between 2020 and today.
The number of illicit pills confiscated by the guards was more than 11,600 – and of these, 1,272 were described as “unidentified tablets”.
Scotland’s shadow justice secretary – Greenock-born Tory MP Jamie Greene – has called figures obtained by Tele under freedom of information laws ‘staggering’ and demanded extra resources for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).
Mr Greene said: “This investigation of the Greenock Telegraph reveals the large number of illicit items that have entered Greenock Prison over the past two years.
“It includes several weapons and thousands of dangerous drugs.
“While I commend the fantastic work of the corrections officers in seizing these items, the number of people who got there in the first place is staggering.”
Mr Greene added: “The Greenock firebomb case demonstrated all too well the disastrous consequence of not preventing these items from falling into the hands of inmates.
“It is crucial that the SNP Government gives our underfunded prison staff the support and resources they need to make prisons safer for those inside and outside their walls.
“He must also take his share of the responsibility for distributing hackable cell phones to prisoners, a move that has resulted in huge financial and criminal costs, despite repeated warnings about the implications of the move.”
The SPS has spent £3.2million on a controversial initiative to give inmates across the country mobile phones during the pandemic.
Warnock bombing orchestrator, 26, obtained an illicit SIM card for the device issued to him and used it to lead his cohorts out in a campaign of terror against relatives of an enemy.
A total of 172 unauthorized SIM cards and 30 illegal phones have been removed from Greenock inmates over the past two years.
The dilapidated 112-year-old prison held 188 prisoners in 2021 because water seepage forced bosses to close dozens of cells and reduce its normal capacity by 242.
Our investigation also showed that drugs such as etizolam (rue valium) and a “mixture of heroin” were intercepted after being mailed to inmates.
Herbal cannabis weighing 23.2 grams, along with 27.4 grams of cannabis resin, 9.2 grams of cocaine, 1.2 grams of crack, 9.4 grams of heroin and 86 milliliters of steroids were been seized.
Among the thousands of illicit tablets seized were buprenorphine, a powerful opioid painkiller, and olanzapine, an antipsychotic.
A spokesman for Justice Secretary Keith Brown accused the Tories of “astonishing hypocrisy” over the foreclosures.
The spokesperson said: “On the one hand they are demanding more resources and spending while on the other hand they are supporting their fellow Conservatives in Westminster by imposing austerity cuts to Scotland’s budget since 2010. .
“The Scottish Government continues to support the Prison Service to prevent illegal drugs and contraband from entering our prisons in what is a dynamic and ever-changing area.
“The Scottish Prison Service has worked tirelessly to adapt its security measures and has invested in technology such as Rapiscan machines to detect and prevent the introduction of contraband into prisons, working closely with agencies partners to gather relevant intelligence.”
An SPS spokesperson said: “We have invested heavily in safety and detection equipment, which has enabled us to create a safer and more secure environment for the people in our care and the staff working in our jails.
“Since the introduction of the photocopying of mail legislation towards the end of last year, drug use incidents have fallen by 22% from October 2021 to October 22, and ambulance calls drug-related by 58% over the same period.”