Man Charged With Using Drone To Fly Cannabis Into Birmingham Prison
A man has been charged with using drones to smuggle drugs into prison.
Michael Tovey, 27, is being accused of using two drones to fly cannabis steroids and mobile phones into HMP Birmingham last year.
DRONES: Man charged with trying to fly drugs & phones into #Birmingham prison using drones https://t.co/K8jcxszMiF
- West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) May 11, 2017
Tovey, formerly of Lakes Road in Erdington, allegedly dropped the contraband into an exercise yard on October 29 and November 6, 2016.
He faces a total of 13 counts of conveying banned items into prison and is set to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on June 7.
HMP Birmingham was hit by large-scale disorder in December last year.
Several inmates were left charged with offences of prison mutiny.
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All in all, it affected four wings of the prison and involved up to 500 inmates, reportedly causing approximately £3 million worth of damage.
The jail was the first to be transferred into private management in England and Wales when in October 2011 it was taken over by G4S.
"We are absolutely determined to tackle the flow of illegal drugs and mobile phones into our prisons and turn them into places of safety and reform," U.K. Prison Minister Sam Gyimah said in a statement in April, according to CNBC.
He added: "The threat posed by drones is clear but our dedicated staff are committed to winning the fight against those who are attempting to thwart progress by wreaking havoc in establishments all over the country.
A Met Police surveillance drone. Image: PA
"My message to those who involve themselves in this type of criminal activity is clear: we will find you and put you behind bars."
John Podmore, former head of the U.K. Prison Service's anti-corruption unit, told the BBC. "There are some 10,000 mobile phones found every year in prisons. My question to the Prison Service would be, how many of those were found hanging from drones?"
There have been some recent examples of punishing those responsible for drone flights, says the Ministry of Justice.
In December, Dean Rawley-Bell, 21, was jailed for four years and eight months after he used a drone to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into Manchester Prison.
Featured Image Credit: PA