Break-in at Kirkham jail

Kirkham Prison

Kirkham Prison

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Thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes were stolen from inside a prison when thieves broke into the compound.

Tobacco worth £8,000 was taken from cases inside a workshop at HMP Kirkham as burglars climbed over fences and entered a storage facility used by courier firm DHL.

The breach of security has led to leading figures in the town to question how the thieves were able to get away with the haul on November 5.

Kirkham mayor Coun Elaine Silverwood said: “It’s a shock for something of that scale to go on and it’s up to all of us to take responsibility for us to protect our businesses.

“It seems very unusual for this to happen in a prison and it’s up to them to know their own security.

“The prison has security guards and the security to get in is very strict.

“If you are meeting with the governor you have to give your national insurance number to get in.”

Prison staff have been reviewing CCTV since the cigarettes were stolen from the workshop, which provides jobs for dozens of inmates at the Category D open jail.

Coun Liz Oades, of Fylde Council, added: “This is a sad reflection on what is happening nowadays.

“We are having lead stolen from all over the place and people are doing this because I assume it’s a reflection on the economic climate.”

Coun Oades says the size of the site does not make it easy to patrol.

She added: “I would have said the security needed to be looked at but knowing personally how hard it is get in there I can’t imagine how this has happened.

“It has fencing all around it but if people are determined to get in there’s not a lot you can do without putting walls up.”

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm we are looking into a report of a theft of a large quantity of tobacco after an outbuilding within Kirkham prison was broken into earlier this month.

“An investigation is ongoing and officers are reviewing CCTV footage.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact Lancashire Constabulary.”

This is not the first time raiders have entered the prison illegally.

In November 2006, an intruder scaled a wall to deliver alcohol and drugs to inmates, but was caught by guards as he made his exit over the same fence.