Prison officers believe inmates are using drones to get takeaways, and other items, delivered into the facility.
At a prison in Dublin, staff found fast food containers from a well-known restaurant in a bin in the yard of Wheatfield Prison, leading them to believe the food was delivered by a drone.
Drones are reportedly used regularly to make drop-offs over the prison walls, with bosses now investigating new ways to prevent it happening.
Jail staff discovered containers from a fast food outlet in a bin in the yard of Wheatfield jail, leading them to believe it had been delivered by a drone.
A source said: “There’s no other conceivable way a Chinese takeaway could get into the prison other than by a drone”.
“That’s what the staff in the jail believe anyway. The food containers were found about six weeks ago”.
“Prison staff were left scratching their heads as to how it got there and a drone was the only possible explanation”.
“It goes to show inmates will go to great lengths to get what they want.”
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said last night: “I have not heard of any such delivery/incident”.
“I won’t for obvious reasons go into details about the size of the holes in the nets but I can tell you they cover all the yard.”
As well as the hi-tech devices being used for the unusual request, they are increasingly dropping drugs into the facility.
And although the entire exercise yard is covered, prisoners are using “human pyramids” to collect contraband.
The unmanned aerial vehicles are said to be making drop-offs over the jail on a regular basis with the prison bosses now looking at even more effective ways to combat them.
A source said inmates get a message to dealers on the outside with an order of what drugs they want and the shipment is then delivered to them.
They added it’s such a regular occurrence staff and inmates have begun to name it after a popular food takeaway ordering service.
The source added: “It would appear drones are being used a lot more than they ever were, it’s a regular occurrence now.
“A lot of the drugs appear to be getting in that way. There’s a running joke it’s like dial-a-drug service as you just get word of what you want, cocaine, spice or whatever, and it’s delivered in by a drone”.
“Not all shipments get through but the vast majority of those looking for the drugs are willing to take the chance”.
“The use of drones to try and drop drugs into the jail yard has many staff questioning if it’s possible to get a no-fly zone about the prison”.
“The drug spice appears to be the drug of choice as it’s cheap and is extremely strong.”
Drones are becoming increasingly popular among civilians and are available at a relatively cheap cost.
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said all measures are in place to stop them from dropping contraband into the yard.
He explained: “Existing measures include regular patrols by staff, monitoring of cameras, exercise yards have netting fitted to prevent contraband being dropped or thrown into that area”.
“Most areas in Wheatfield are fitted with specially designed windows which cannot be opened like a traditional window”.
“This assists in the prevention of contraband entering the prison, the remaining areas will be fitted with this style of window shortly”.
“In addition the installation of infrared and motion sensor cameras will commence shortly”.
“The Irish Prison Service is also exploring a number of technology options to deal with the problem.”