Parc Prison worker arrested over alleged smuggling of contraband into jail

It is the fourth recent arrest in connection with items smuggled into Parc Prison in Bridgend. Credit: Media Wales

Police have arrested an employee of crisis-hit Parc Prison on suspicion of smuggling contraband into the jail.

The prison worker is the fourth person within two months to have been arrested in connection with illicit items or drugs brought into the Bridgend jail.

Parc has seen nine sudden inmate deaths since February 27 but none of the arrests are in connection with the investigation into those deaths.

The arrest of the Parc employee happened on Tuesday, 14 May.

A South Wales Police spokesperson said: "Detectives from Tarian, the regional organised crime unit for southern Wales, investigating the supply of drugs into the area have made a further arrest. A 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conveying contraband into a prison. He has been bailed pending further inquiries."

It comes after police arrested a 40-year-old man from Birmingham and a 34-year-old woman from Penylan in Cardiff on March 21 on suspicion of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and money laundering. Both have been released under investigation.

In March police also arrested a 34-year-old man, from Penylan in Cardiff, on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs. He is on conditional bail pending further inquiries.

A spokesman for G4S, the private security giant which runs Parc, said: “Following a joint operation with South Wales Police we can confirm that an employee was arrested on May 14. We expect the highest standards of conduct from our employees and if we suspect any form of wrongdoing we will take swift action. Where there is any suspicion of illegal behaviour we will always share intelligence with the police and other agencies."

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It comes after prisons minister Edward Argar and executive director of the prison and probation service in Wales, Ian Barrow, faced questions from MPs on Wednesday.

Mr Argar rejected calls for the UK Government to strip G4S' contract to manage the jail, which he described as "well-run".

He said four of the nine recent sudden deaths are believed to be drug-related, four are not, and one is "potentially so".

Two of the deaths, he said, are thought to be from natural causes.

Mr Barrow disagreed with claims that the "vast majority" of the drugs in Parc are brought in by staff.

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