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Justice Secretary: 'Progress being made at HMP Bedford'

Liz Truss is confident improvements are being made at Bedford Prison. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Justice Secretary Liz Truss says improvements are starting to be made at Bedford Prison after a riot took place there earlier this month.

The MP for South West Norfolk spoke during a visit to see a work experience project at Norwich Prison.

Truss told ITV News Anglia that more staff have been recruited and body worn cameras are being rolled out.

Inmates who were involved in the six-hour riot were protesting at the conditions in the jail.

"There are issues across the prison estate, but what we've done, we've trained up new sniffer dogs in detecting psychoactive substances, we're rolling out body-worn cameras across the estate, investing in more frontline staff," Truss said.

"I announced earlier this year that we were recruiting an additional 400 staff in our most challenging prisons and we've now reached half of that target, so we are making progress."

Bedford's bake off winner says she was rejected twice from the show

Candice Brown Credit: PA

Great British Bake Off star Candice Brow, from Bedford, unsuccessfully applied for the BBC show twice before landing a place in the popular series.

The 31-year-old, who beat Jane Beedle and Andrew Smyth to win this year's final, recently put her job as a teacher on hold to pursue a career in baking.

Candice says she feels "horrendous" about leaving her job at Ashlyns School in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

She said it was her boyfriend Liam Macaulay who had encouraged her to apply for the show.

Speaking to ITV's Loose Women, Candice said:

"I didn't expect to even get on the show and then week by week until being the winner, it feels so alien."

– Candice Brown

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Man dies in Bedford chemical incident

The man was found dead in Barkers Lane Credit: ITV News Anglia

A man has died following a chemical incident in Bedford this afternoon.

The man was found in Barkers Lane at around 2.30pm.

When the emergency services arrived, they discovered the scene posed a chemical risk and specially trained Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) officers were drafted in.

They are currently still at the property to ensure it is safe.

The incident isn't being treated as suspicious and Barkers Lane has been closed at the junction with Donnelly Drive for the time being.

Couple's lucky escape after car set on fire outside window

Video report by ITV News Anglia's Russell Hookey

A Bedford couple are calling for witnesses to come forward after their car was set alight outside the window of their bungalow.

Malcolm and Eleanor Grainger from Blunham were asleep at the time. The car was completely destroyed. A police investigation is underway.

I just pray with anyone who knows anything about this to come forward to the police, to give them information they need, it will be totally in confidence and lets get the perpetrators brought to justice.

– Malcolm Grainger

Three people arrested following Bedford prison riot

Three people were arrested during the riot at Bedford prison. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Three people were arrested and two prisoners taken to hospital following a riot at Bedford jail.

Police have confirmed officers from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex were needed to deal with the disturbance which broke out just before 5pm on Sunday.

Three men - aged 39, 37 and 26 - have been arrested on suspicion of committing offences under the Prison Security Act 1992. They remain in police custody.

Two prisoners were taken to hospital during the incident - one had become unwell and another suffered minor injuries during the riot. Both have been treated and returned to prison.

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Report finds easy access to drugs and high levels of violence in many prisons

Inmates at HMP Bedford claimed it was easier to get drugs than clothes or bedsheets. Credit: ITV Anglia News

Justice Secretary Liz Truss has today presented her strategy for prison reform after a string of warnings about the state of jails in England and Wales.

In the report inmates at HMP Bedford claimed it was easier to get drugs than clothes or bedsheets.

While nearly half of prisoners at HMP Chelmsford in Essex said it was "easy" to get drugs, while the jail had also seen rising levels of violence.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said in his annual report that too many jails have become "unacceptably violent and dangerous places."

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