March 1 2015 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
A Suffolk prison is facing embarrassment after an animal-loving inmate was found to be keeping a rabbit as a pet.
The discovery of the rabbit –which has been confirmed by the Prison Service – occurred at Hollesley Bay open prison, near Woodbridge, and led to the prisoner being disciplined.
News of the find emerged only a few days after it was revealed the jail was the target of a burglary in which a thief stole tobacco worth £3,000 from the main stores.
It is understood prisoners working outside the jail found the domesticated rabbit and took it back into Hollesley.
A hutch was then constructed in which the animal was kept for several days.
When the rabbit was found it was confiscated and taken to a rescue centre.
It is not known if the hutch was found inside a cell or elsewhere in HMP Hollesley’s grounds.
It is against rules for prisoners to keep pets in prison.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “This prisoner has been disciplined and the animal immediately handed to a rescue centre.”
It is understood the incident occurred several weeks ago.
Last weekend it emerged Hollesley had become a victim of crime in its own right after tobacco worth an estimated £3,000 was stolen before it could be sold to prisoners.
Up to 300 packets of tobacco were reported to have been taken from the jail’s main storeroom during the overnight raid.
An imprint of a training shoe was found near the scene, although as yet the thief has not been found. Nor, it appears, has the tobacco.
The culprit is reported to have broken in through a skylight before removing a ceiling tile to gain entry to the storeroom.
The theft occurred between 4.30pm on Monday, June 16, and 8am on Tuesday, June 17.
A spokesperson for HMP Hollesley Bay said: “Earlier this month a quantity of tobacco products was stolen from HMP Hollesley Bay.
“This is now a matter for the police. Such items are purchased by prisoners using their own money.”
Last year thieves stole tobacco worth around £25,000 during raids in April and October at HMP Leyhill near Bristol.