Prisons face hooch crisis as DIY booze brewing in cells trebles in five years

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Lock-up bosses uncovered a record haul of illegal booze last year.

In the last five years prison authorities have seen the rate of alcohol discoveries almost treble.

Last year illicit stashes were uncovered by guards on 8,919 occasions – more than 170 swoops every week. A total of 465 DIY distilling kits were also found and seized from would-be bootleggers.

Prisoners have told how they can make an illegal “hooch” by mixing fruit, warm water, sugar and bread in a plastic bag.

Depending on the sugar ­content and how long it is left for, it can be up to 14% proof.

Reports from individual prisons reveal there were 249 litres of ‘hooch’ confiscated at Onley prison, near Rugby, while at Lincoln jail sniffer dogs are sent round once a week to uncover hidden booze.

David Spencer, Research Director at the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: “It is completely unacceptable for so much illegal alcohol to be present behind bars.

“This data begs the question, if the authorities have discovered this much, how much more has gone undetected?

“It is time the prison service got a grip on illegal substances and activities behind bars and if needs be, they should be given stinger powers to search cells and punish those guilty of illegal brewing.”

  • Death row killer who raped and murdered girl, 11, as she walked home found dead in jail

A Prison Service spokesman said: “We have ramped up cell searches, used alcohol tests and deployed specialist sniffer dogs to clamp down on illicitly brewed alcohol.”

Last week, the Star reported on the bleak truth of spending time inside UK prisons.

Ex-gangster Stephen Gillen detailed inmates' murders, sadistic guards and prisoners throwing hot oil over rival gang members.

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The former career criminal has spent 28 of his 49 years committing crimes, having been jailed for the first just less than 2 weeks after he turned 14.

Stephen even once shared a cell with notorious prisoner Charles Bronson – who he said was a "wonderful storyteller".

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