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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 14:46 GMT
Prisoners turn to Marmite moonshine
The spread is celebrating its 100th anniversary
Inmates at a jail near Wolverhampton are brewing their own "hooch" using Marmite.

Fruit and vegetables are also being used to make alcoholic drinks by prisoners at Featherstone jail.

But governor Mike Pascoe said he preferred the practice if it meant fewer hard drugs were getting into the complex.

He said: "While we do not condone it we do understand and it is better than having a drugs problem."

Yeast content

Tough security measures have been brought in to improve detection of drugs at the prison, including regular random drug tests, sniffer dogs and closed-circuit television.

Drug supplies have also been reduced by improved surveillance in the visits room.

But the use of the yeast sandwich spread Marmite is highlighted in the findings of the annual report by the Prison's Board of Visitors.

Although congratulating prison authorities in reducing drug supplies, the report notes: "This good news has its downside and the board has noted with concern increasing finds and adjudications connected with hooch."

Mr Pascoe said fruit and vegetables stolen from the prison kitchen were used in the brewing process, but inmates used Marmite because its yeast content aids the fermenting process.

The yeast extract spread has achieved cult status and this year celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The original Marmite Food Company was founded in 1902 at Burton-on-Trent in East Staffordshire.

It formed art of the staple diet for the armed forces in both world wars because it is rich in vitamin B.

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