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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Prison removes 'anti-pigeon' spikes
Isle of Wight coastline
The Isle of Wight prison has a pigeon faeces problem
A prison has been forced to remove "anti-pigeon" spikes after warders feared they might fall in to the hands of inmates.

Albany prison on the Isle of Wight took the decision after it was discovered some of the spikes were coming loose.

Officers at the prison were concerned that one of the spikes could be used as a weapon against them.

The problem came to light after one of the warders raised concerns with the Prison Officers' Association (POA).

Call me a coward, but I don't fancy a four inch spike in the neck

Albany Prison officer

Bosses at the prison spent more than 7,000 on the contract to get the spikes put in place.

The unnamed officer wrote to the August issue of POA's newsletter Gatelodge.

However, they have been removed after the officer wrote: "Call me a coward, but I don't fancy a four inch spike in the neck."

In response the governor had the windowsill spikes removed, despite Home Office claims they were only placed in staff areas at the jail.

Glued on

The anonymous warder wrote: "Although the spikes weren't put on cell windowsills, they were requested to go on many other windows which are within reach of prisoners.

"And to make things worse, they were only glued on with resin, so they come off very easily."

It is rumoured that up to 500 a day was paid to the contractors who fitted the spikes, to take them down again.

A Home Office spokeswoman explained the spikes were first put in place around March this year, as a means of combating the toxic problem of pigeon faeces around the prison walls.

She confirmed that though the spikes have been removed, discussions are underway that might see them put back up.

"The spikes were placed in areas, accessible only to staff at the prison," she said.

"Unfortunately it was found that some of the spikes were not fixed properly and it was decided to take them down."

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