By Lucia Suarez Sang
Published March 25, 2019
What's next, a literal stool pigeon?
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Prison rats aren't just about informing on cellmates anymore, as criminals in England have been found to be stuffing dead rats -- the kind with whiskers and a tail, not the tattler who wants a reduced sentence -- with drugs and cellphones in an attempt to smuggle the contraband into a prison, officials revealed Monday.
The Ministry of Justice said three dead rats were found thrown over the fence in early March at HMP Guys Marsh in Dorset, about 130 miles southwest of London. Prison guards noticed the rats’ stomachs had been stitched up, prompting them to cut the rodents them open.
Inside they found a large number of drugs, including a “legal high," cannabis, tobacco, mobile phones, chargers, sim cards and cigarette papers.
“They were then to be sold throughout the prison, leaving chaos and violence in their wake,” the Ministry of Justice said, according to the Independent.
The animals were found just inside the perimeter of the category C institution, which has been plagued by discipline issues, the Guardian reported.
Officials said they believe organized criminals coordinated the smuggling attempt with an officer inside the jail who was ready to collect them.
“This find shows the extraordinary lengths to which criminals will go to smuggle drugs into prison, and underlines why our work to improve security is so important,” Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said, according to the Guardian. “Drugs and mobile phones behind bars puts prisoners, prison officers and the public at risk.”
Dorset police are investigating the incident. No arrests have been made.
The Prison Service said gangs have used pigeons and tennis balls to attempt to bypass prison security measures. Officials said this is the first time dead rats have been used.
HMP Guys Marsh has had a history of incidents in the past. In 2017, there was a rooftop protest involving a drunk prisoner who set fire to the roof after stripping off and torching his clothes. A year prior, photographs shared on Facebook showed prisoners drinking, using drugs and eating takeaway fish and chips, the Guardian reported.
The Prison Service said it was planning to replace windows at the jail to stop drugs being moved between cells, the BBC reported.