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LONDON — A drone attempting to deliver mobile phones and drugs to a prison in England was intercepted earlier this year.
The unmanned aerial vehicle was caught by guards at Bedford Prison in March, and it was one of nine known attempts to infiltrate jails in England and Wales in the first five months of 2015, the BBC reports.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS), meanwhile, has warned that drones could be used in the future to deliver weaponry into jails. A similar-sized package was reportedly dropped unnoticed into a maximum security facility during a test earlier this year.
Eve Richard, a senior analyst at NOMS, said the use of drones to deliver contraband is an “emerging threat.”
“In a nutshell, our intelligence suggests that the use of UAVs to release items into our prisons is an emerging threat,” she said. “It’s not a huge issue at the moment but there is the potential for it to increase and become more of an issue.”
Regardless of the size or security of a prison, anywhere with open air space is vulnerable, she said. Items found on board drones that are caught include SIM cards, smartphones and batteries, but NOMS are particularly concerned with synthetic psychoactive drugs, which the organisation’s Lorna Shore thinks might be related to an increase in violent incidents.
Small drones are more popular than ever in the UK, and one man was recently jailed for flying one over football grounds and landmarks in London.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), NATS, the UK’s global air traffic management company, and the pilots union BALPA issued a “drone code” earlier this year, telling people of the rules associated with owning and operating a drone.
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