Tiny mobile phones are being smuggled into prisons ... and now the Government wants them to be banned from being sold.
Justice Secretary David Lidington wants online retailers to stop selling the gadgets which are no bigger than a cigarette lighter.
Officials say the mini phones are freely available on the internet and are designed to go undetected by body orifice security scanners that are in place in jails around England and Wales.
For as little as £25 prisoners and organised crime gangs can purchase and smuggle the phones into prisons where they can sell for up to £500, the Ministry of Justice warned.
In a speech tomorrow (Monday), Mr Lidington will say: “It’s pretty clear that these miniature phones are being advertised and sold with the purpose of being smuggled.
“That’s why today I am calling on online retailers and trading websites to take down products that are advertised to evade detection measures in prisons.”
Mobile phones have emerged as a major security challenge for prisons where they help facilitate more crime and are used to intimidate victims from behind bars.
Last year prison officers recovered more than 13,000 mobile phones and sim cards.
The ministry is working with mobile network operators on technology to block phone signals while £2m has been invested on hand-held and portable detection equipment for jail staff.
In his speech, Mr Lidington will add: “Tackling the availability of drugs and mobile phones is as much about targeting the gangs and supply chains that operate beyond the prison walls as it is about detecting and managing them once they arrive inside the prison walls.
“Detection and seizure should be our last line of defence. Our first line of defence is taking the fight to the criminal gangs.
“That is why we have been boosting our intelligence-led operations: police officers are now working alongside prison officers to expose the criminal gangs, stop them in their tracks and bring them to justice.”