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Publication date: Monday, 5 March 2018
A hunting knife and an axe were among contraband items seized by Corrective Services NSW officers during visitor vehicle searches at a Hunter prison over the weekend.
The contraband blitz, led by CSNSW’s specialised Security Operations Group and executed in conjunction with NSW Police, resulted in four visitors being charged and seven prevented from entering Cessnock Correctional Centre.
Assistant Commissioner for Security and Intelligence Mark Wilson PSM said the items were retrieved from visitor vehicles.
“Anyone visiting a correctional centre needs to be aware that officers and K9s are out in force conducting contraband screenings and this includes searches of any property brought on site,” Mr Wilson said.
“We make sure no stone is left unturned. Everything on CSNSW property – whether it be a handbag, pram or car – is carefully inspected for contraband.
“Visitors need to use some common sense and ensure that they are not driving into a correctional facility with a boot full of hunting knives or anything else that is considered contraband in the custodial setting such as tobacco.”
During the operation, officers assisted by contraband detection-dogs found items including:
Minister for Corrections David Elliott thanked the officers for their diligence in making the contraband find and said the operation shows that visitors will face criminal charges if they try to smuggle banned items into correctional centres.
“Any contraband that enters the prison environment presents a major risk to the health, safety and security of staff and inmates. Visitors caught bringing banned items, including illegal and prescription drugs, to correctional centres face penalties of up to two years' imprisonment,” Mr Elliott said.
“They could also face additional drug-related criminal charges and another penalty is a ban on visits of up to two years.
"Visitors can be guaranteed specialist search teams are a regular presence at Cessnock and other correctional centres.”
As a result of the operation, police charged a 38-year-old woman – and three men – aged 28, 30, and 34 – with various offences.
In addition, police issued a number of traffic infringements and defect notices.