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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March 2005, 22:49 GMT
Greek guards protest at old guns
Greek prison
Officers have been told not to fire their guns
Greek prison guards are to go on strike to demand a replacement of their antiquated American-made guns.

The weapons were used by the US Cavalry in 1911 and safety experts have advised that they should not be fired.

Prison staff are now concerned about security as inmates have become wise to the faulty arsenal and escape attempts are on the increase.

Officers are calling for new weapons and more staff to deal with the country's growing prison population.

Prison officers guarding Greece's prison perimeters complain that the guns no longer scare inmates, who have become more daring believing they will not be fired at.

"We have more and more escape attempts and prisoners just say: 'I'll try it because they won't shoot me with these guns anyway'," exterior prison guards union president Giorgos Kostikas said.

"Our most modern guns date from 1935, and experts have told us that we are better off not using them.

"We need 2,800 guards but we currently have only 1,200 armed with completely inappropriate weapons to secure the perimeter of the prisons."

The strike action announced for next Thursday, means visiting hours at prisons across the country and prisoner transfers will be cancelled.


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