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Teens hired as guards at spice-plagued prison.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON ian.johnson01@trinitymirror.com @@Ian_JohnsonGaz

IT has emerged that teenagers are being hired as prison guards at spice-hit Holme House after the drug left veteran staff "dropping like flies".

But fears over the youngsters' suitability to deal with problems at the Stockton jail have been dismissed by a Government minister, who stated: "We were all inexperienced once".

Holme House staff have reportedly been left on the sick after inhaling spice, forcing 18-year-olds to replace veteran prison guards.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham pushed Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah over the issue during a Commons clash.

The Labour MP said: "The Minister will be aware of the major drug finds and related problems at Holme House Prison in my constituency which has seen experienced officers leave and replaced by 18-yearold recruits.

"Does the Minister really think that recruiting youngsters is the answer to meet the needs of our increasing prison population, the answer to tackle drugs, or solve the crisis in the service?" The Minister insisted the teenagers were up to scratch, adding: "We were all inexperienced once, but that did not mean that we were not capable of doing our jobs.

"A lot of our recruits are of the highest calibre, using the same recruitment methods as we have used all over the years.

"The Opposition did not believe that we could deliver these numbers. We are delivering them, and I think they should actually be supporting the government." The jail was left in lockdown last month after staff were ill from spice inhalation.

that were It came after a PS200k smuggled spice stash was seized in what was thought to be the biggest ever British prison drug haul.

Thornaby's Rebecca Hackett recently admitted smuggling the drug into the 1,200 capacity jail, while a 68-year-old gran was jailed for bringing the so-called 'Zombie' drug inside.

We were all inexperienced once but that did not mean we were not capable of doing our jobs. Sam Gyimah

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Holme House Prison was left in lockdown last month after staff were ill from spice inhalation ian cooper

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 7, 2017
Words:349
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