a specialist prison officer dog handler patrols outside the perimeter fence of Ford Prison near Arundel, south England, as the gymnasium building burns in background after about 40 prisoners began a riot and set alight to parts of the open prison, according to the a Ministry of Justice official, Saturday Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo / Chris Ison, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES (AP)

Inmates riot at low-security prison in England

Smashed windows and fire result on New Years Eve after some prisoners refuse to take breath tests for alcohol


Associated Press
January 1, 2011 8:16PM (UTC)

Rioting inmates caused heavy damage to a low-security prison Saturday, smashing windows and setting fires that engulfed buildings and spewed clouds of black smoke.

Officials said about 40 inmates at Ford Open Prison near Arundel, 60 miles (95 kms) south of London, began the disturbance at around midnight New Year's Eve after some prisoners refused to take breath tests for alcohol.

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By midday, two buildings were still ablaze, though fires had been extinguished at several other buildings, which were heavily damaged.

The prison's staff retreated and specialist officers were called in to handle the riot, the Ministry of Justice said. There were no immediate reports of injuries to staff or inmates.

The prison houses up to 500 offenders with less than two years remaining on their sentences to prepare them for release.

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Mark Freeman, deputy general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said the riot started after some prisoners refused to take breath tests. At the time, only two prison officers and four support staff were on duty, he said.

Freeman said a large amount of alcohol had been found at the prison.


Associated Press

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