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Pentonville prison: Plot to smuggle package into jail is foiled as pink ropes seen dangling over wall

PUBLISHED: 13:02 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:07 16 February 2017

Lines of bright pink rope (circled) can be seen dangling over the walls of Pentonville prison this morning.

Lines of bright pink rope (circled) can be seen dangling over the walls of Pentonville prison this morning.

Archant

Prison bosses say they have stopped an illicit package being smuggled into HMP Pentonville today.

The lines of rope can clearly be seen hanging over Pentonville prison's walls. The lines of rope can clearly be seen hanging over Pentonville prison's walls.

Pink ropes were still dangling from the walls of the Victorian jail this afternoon after allegedly being used to throw two parcels of contraband goods into the yard of the Caledonian Road prison just before midnight.

A man wearing a hooded top was seen running from the scene after lobbing the parcels over the walls.

A prison CCTV camera was reportedly pointed straight at him at the time.

The pink cables were still hanging there at 12.30pm today.

The lines of rope can clearly be seen hanging over Pentonville prison's walls. The lines of rope can clearly be seen hanging over Pentonville prison's walls.

A prison service spokeswoman said: “Staff at HMP Pentonville successfully stopped an item of contraband from getting into the prison on February 16.

“This matter will be referred to the police for investigation.”

The prison says it has a number of measures in place to deter people from bringing in contraband, including CCTV cameras, searches and patrol dogs.

But this is the latest in a line of security breaches at the embattled jail where the walls are said to be insecure.

Holes in the perimeter netting at Pentonville prison in November. Prison authorities say the nets have since been fixed. Picture: Islington Gazette Holes in the perimeter netting at Pentonville prison in November. Prison authorities say the nets have since been fixed. Picture: Islington Gazette

In November the Gazette revealed allegations that packages had been smuggled into Pentonville through a hole in security netting just hours before an inmate was fatally stabbed.

A number of YouTube video clips, shot over the course of months, showed parcels being hooked onto lines and fished into the jail through flimsy perimeter netting, often in broad daylight.

People living in homes that face directly onto Pentonville told the Gazette they felt unsafe.

But HMP Pentonville governor Kevin Reilly defended security measures at the prison.

These images purportedly show prisoners brandishing a knife inside HMP Pentonville, and drugs and mobile phones inside the jail in December These images purportedly show prisoners brandishing a knife inside HMP Pentonville, and drugs and mobile phones inside the jail in December

He said: “These include 24-hour patrol dogs, CCTV cameras covering the entire prison, physical barriers, mobile phone detection technology, metal detectors, a searching strategy and our own intelligence systems that we share with other enforcement agencies, such as the police.”

Less than a month later on December 14 the Gazette published chilling images from a source at Pentonville purportedly showing prisoners brandishing a knife, a stash of drugs wrapped in cellophane, and a hoard of smart phones behind bars.

The contraband had allegedly been smuggled in after security at the jail was ramped up.

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry said at the time that the pictures, if true, were “absolutely shocking” and called for ministers to “get a grip” and decide whether to close the prison.

James Whitlock (left) and Matthew Baker escaped from Pentonville last year. Both men have since been recaptured. Pictures: Met Police James Whitlock (left) and Matthew Baker escaped from Pentonville last year. Both men have since been recaptured. Pictures: Met Police

She said: “I have grave concerns about the safety of staff and inmates at Pentonville and I have been saying for more than a year that the walls are not secure.”

Security at Pentonville has come under fire since the fatal stabbing of new father Jamal Mahmoud, 21, on the prison’s G wing on October 18 last year.

Two prisoners, James Whitlock and Matthew Baker, also escaped from G wing on November 7. They have since been re-captured by police.

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