Police try to quell riot at British prison

1st January 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 140 specialist police officers were sent into a British prison on Saturday after rioting prisoners set alight to buildings when staff tried to check if they were drinking alcohol.

Police in body armour and firefighters were called in after about 40 inmates smashed windows, activated fire alarms and started fires at Ford open prison near Arundel in southeast England, authorities said.

TV pictures showed flames leaping from several buildings at the 1960s-era prison, while another of the wooden huts at the prison was burned out.

The Prison Officers' Association said the violence started after staff tried to breathalyse some of the 200 prisoners amid fears contraband alcohol had been smuggled into the jail.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said no prisoners or staff were believed to have been injured in the riot.

He said: "At around 12:00 am about 40 prisoners began smashing windows and setting off fire alarms at the establishment and set one building alight.

"Prison staff were forced to retreat and police and the fire brigade have been called.

"Specialist teams of prison officers have been called in to deal with the incident.

"We have no reports of any injuries to staff or prisoners at this stage."

The prison houses inmates with less than two years of their sentence left to serve.

In November, more than 250 inmates at a British prison for young offenders had to be moved to other jails after three nights of rioting.

© 2011 AFP

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