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Saturday, 22 December, 2001, 04:58 GMT
Visitors arrested in prison crackdown
Norfolk Police
Norfolk Police made searches of prison visitors
Eighteen people have been arrested during a four-day crackdown on drug smuggling at Norwich prison.

Norfolk Police and security staff at the jail launched Operation Benefit after concern about drugs entering the prison.

It has been timed to coincide with the regular rise in drug-taking among inmates during the run-up to Christmas.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said the drugs seized included heroin and cocaine.

Inspector Steve Davies said: "We are trying to target dealers and assist the prison getting users clean before they are released in a hope that they will not re-offend.

Sniffer dog

"The results to date highlight the problems the prison face."

The festive crackdown caught 18 people in four days.

Police and prison officers made unannounced searches of visitors at various locations around the prison with the help of a specially trained sniffer dog.

Several woman entering the prison were found to be carrying drugs internally.

Out of the 18 who were detained, 14 have been charged in connection with drugs offences while the others were being questioned in connection with various alleged crimes.

Two offensive weapons have also been seized.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kate Williams
"The use of sniffer dogs was invaluable"

Click here to go to Norfolk
See also:

02 Jun 00 | Scotland
Jail riot after drug seizure
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