Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 15:32 UK

Prisoner 'drunk on swine flu gel'

The Verne
The gels were being drunk "within hours of being available"

A Dorset prison has removed anti-bacterial hand gel pumps, which contain alcohol, after an inmate reportedly got drunk on them.

The gel was made available on Monday at HMP The Verne in Portland to help combat the spread of swine flu.

But the Prison Officers Association (POA) said within hours there had been an incident with an intoxicated inmate.

The Prison Service said the pumps were removed as a "precautionary measure" and an investigation was under way.

It is believed the gel was mixed with a drink before it was consumed.

In March, Royal Bournemouth Hospital said it was one of many hospitals removing alcohol-based hand cleaning gel from reception areas in a bid to stop visitors drinking it.

You don't want drunk prisoners running around the prison
Andy Fear, POA

Andy Fear, from the POA at The Verne, said: "We were informed of an incident within hours of the gel being available.

"In one of the wings it is believed an inmate was using it inappropriately.

"When you get something called alcohol gel you can see what is going to happen.

"We had concerns when we heard these were being given to inmates.

"You don't want drunk prisoners running around the prison."

A Prison Service spokesman added: "On 21 September a prisoner at HMP The Verne showed signs of intoxication, the cause of which will be investigated.

"Anti-bacterial gel pumps have been removed from the prison as a precautionary measure."

The BBC understands reports that there was a fight between inmates during the incident are incorrect.

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