Home   News   Article

Substantial increase in illegal mobile phone confiscations at HMP Grampian raises concern


By Kyle Ritchie

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

Drug dealing fears have been fuelled at HMP Grampian after new figures show a 350 per cent rise in the number of illegal mobile phone confiscations at the prison.

Information obtained from the Scottish Prison Service show 63 illicit handsets were taken off prisoners in 2023 compared to just 14 in 2022.

These figures are separate to the Scottish Government-funded phones which the service revealed were all withdrawn from use at HMP Grampian as of July 31 following Covid.

Concerns have been raised about the rise in the number of illegal mobile phone confiscations at HMP Grampian.
Concerns have been raised about the rise in the number of illegal mobile phone confiscations at HMP Grampian.

Instead, HMP Grampian was selected to have in-cell landline phones installed, giving inmates 200 free minutes.

The huge jump in illegal mobile phone confiscations at the north-east jail is among the highest increases in Scotland and in total was the fifth largest number for 2023, below Edinburgh, Barlinnie, Addiewell and Low Moss.

And in the last four years since 2020, a total of 104 illegal phones have been confiscated after being smuggled into HMP Grampian.

The “deeply alarming” figures come after HMP Grampian governor Mike Hebden said devices were being hidden inside new prisoners or thrown over the wall.

North East MSP Tess White said: “These figures are deeply alarming and show the growing problem of illegal mobile phone use at HMP Grampian.

“I’m extremely concerned these phones are being used by dangerous drug dealers to run their businesses from their cells which must urgently be put to a stop.

“It’s absolutely clear that the Scottish Government must stop neglecting prison staff and instead help tackle this worrying issue rather than ploughing money into landline phones.

“Organised crime gangs who control the trade in drugs and other illicit items need to know that officers are in charge, not them.

“Unless SNP ministers get serious about tackling addiction problems and other issues behind bars, the vicious cycle of drug-fuelled crime will continue.”




This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More