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Gangsters trying to smuggle iPhones to prison inmates offering guards £3,000

Members of an organised crime gang are offering prison officers up to £3,000 to smuggle iPhones into jail.

The hefty offer is equivalent to that of almost two months' wage for the prison guards, and 30 times the price of some second-hand devices the gang are looking to bring in.

Gangsters are hopeful that the cost of living crisis will make prison staff more vulnerable to taking risks, with wages for guards around £22,000 per year.

An officer at Shotts Prison, a high-security penitentiary, told friends he had turned down an offer to take cash for smuggling a phone, Daily Record reported.

The admission comes after dozens of iPhones were discovered during a massive security sweep.

One source said: "There's a lot of prisoners still involved in organised crime with access to this kind of money.

"It's worth spending £3,000 if they can get a phone that allows them to speak to their cronies unmonitored.

"One staff member turned the offer down. They didn't say who it came from but it shows how desperate some inmates are to stay in touch with their criminal pals.

"There is a fear that some more vulnerable members of staff will find it difficult to turn down this kind of money".

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The source continued: "There is a fear that some more vulnerable members of staff will find it difficult to turn down this kind of money.

"The price of day-to-day living is going up all the time just now and there will be some staff members prepared to take this risk".

Squads of gangsters are targeting vulnerable officers with cash bribes in the hopes that they can maintain control of their operations.

Just last year, Andrew Gallacher, who died in West Lothian's Addiewell Prison in Scotland, faced police charges when officers found an iPhone in his cell.

Gallacher, a key member of the Lyons crime gang, was due to appear at Hamilton Sheriff Court after the iPhone was found during a search.

Nearly 2000 mobile phones were confiscated from prisoners in Scotland, and around 7600 allegedly tamper-proof phones were handed out to inmates to replace visiting during the coronavirus pandemic.

But prisoners were able to change the settings to make calls to unauthorised numbers.

Staff have raised concerns, saying prisoners could be organising drug deals, while Scottish Prison Service figures show that 1899 mobile phones were seized in Scotland's prisons since May in 2020.

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Prison Officers Association Scotland assistant general secretary Phil Fairlie said: "Attempts to pressurise or to seek to provide enticements to prison staff is not a new thing.

"It is a potential pressure staff are made aware of at the very earliest opportunity in their training when joining the service.

"There is no doubt with the increase in the numbers of those in our prisons with links to serious organised crime gangs, there is also a likely increase n attempts to have staff succumb to such an approach.

"The known examples of such approaches being successful are thankfully incredibly low".

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