NSW prisons to be raided in contraband crackdown; authorities warn offenders 'will be found'

| 23.08,17. 07:40 PM |

NSW prisons to be raided in contraband crackdown; authorities warn offenders 'will be found'

Photo: Police are cracking down on contraband at all 36 NSW prisons. (ABC News: Ben Worsley)

NSW prisoners have been put on notice — deal in contraband and you will get caught and spend even more time behind bars.

All state prisons are being raided as part of Operation Purge and the secret weapon is a border collie called Hank.

Hank, who is trained to sniff lithium — an ingredient in mobile phone batteries — is being used in the crackdown which began at Long Bay jail last week.

Every cell and inmate was searched and drugs and weapons were netted and four prisoners charged.

Corrective Services Minister David Elliot said no stone would be left unturned.

"No pocket will be safe, no corner of a prison cell will be unaccountable, we'll be making sure that if you do bring in contraband you will be found," he said.

Prisoners caught with contraband face a two-year extension to their sentence.

Police will be looking for makeshift knives, guns, drugs, phones and even improvised tattoo equipment in the coming months as all 36 NSW prisons are targeted.

Deputy Commissioner Mark Wilson said police would have their work cut out for them.

"They're [prisoners] ingenious and they have a lot of time on their hands to devote to trying to improvise and make improvised weapons so it's a constant battle," he said.

Mr Elliot said a major reason for launching the operation was an incident last month in which a Parklea Prison inmate shot a video showing him in possession of drugs and weapons.

The video, uploaded to YouTube from inside the facility, showed the inmate holding a knife and what he said was the drug ice.

He said prison guards were smuggling in the contraband.

The Government intervened in the running of the private jail and is now considering the future of its operator.

Currently only two prisons in the state have received approval to use phone-jamming technology to make mobile phones useless within their walls.

The measure requires Commonwealth approval and a guarantee that the technology will not affect phones being used by the businesses and residents nearby.


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