Footage of a prison riot has emerged showing the dramatic scenes as hundreds of inmates ‘took over’ Bedford Prison last night.
Emergency crews were dispatched to the Category B men’s prison in Bedfordshire shortly before 5pm following claims of a ‘riot’, the BBC reports.
The footage, purportedly captured on mobile phones inside the jail, shows prisoners celebrating in corridors.
Prison guards were forced to withdraw to a safe place, outnumbered by inmates who have taken over areas within the jail. There were reportedly up to 200 prisoners – some armed with homemade knives – involved in the riot.
According to reports, the inmates managed to occupy two prison wings by the time police intervened, having already ransacked guards’ offices, set small fires and stole medical supplies.
One man, claiming to be an inmate, told the Mirror:
We’ve got control of the prison. It started off as a little joke about. But now every wing is open.
Prisoners are walking around with knives and coshes. They’ve nicked mobile phones out of the office, everything’s been smashed.
The police are outside and all the guards have left the prison.
— Walkileaks (@walkileaks) November 7, 2016
There were also reports of loud bangs or explosions coming from inside the prison.
But after an operation that lasted more than six hours, the situation was brought under control.
There were no injuries to prison staff but two inmates were treated for injuries that were not thought to be serious.
Update: The incident at HMP Bedford has been resolved. The Prison Service will carry out a full investigation
— Bedfordshire Police (@bedspolice) November 6, 2016
The riot comes just two months after a report on the Category B prison conducted by the Chief Inspector of Prisons revealed many serious shortcomings. The survey found it was twice as easy for inmates to get drugs since the previous inspection in February 2014, with the number of prisoners with a drug problem jumping from 4 per cent to 14 per cent, RT reports.
The report also described the living conditions in the prison as ‘poor,’ adding that the inmates are forced to live in ‘crowded and cramped’ conditions.