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​Tobacco stash found in prison

Issued: Saturday, 8 August 2015

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Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin has praised the officer who found a large stash of thousands of dollars of tobacco hidden in a wall cavity at a Sydney prison yesterday.

"As we prepare to go smoke free on Monday 10 August, we have been conducting extra searches in all our prisons," said Commissioner Severin. "On Monday tobacco becomes another form of contraband in prisons. We want to find and destroy any stockpiles before that occurs."

First Class Correctional Officer Brendan Cashen found the stash in an accommodation area at the Outer Metropolitan Multi-Purpose Correctional Centre near Windsor. It consisted of 64 packets of tobacco, 90 packets of cigarette papers, and 40 boxes of matches.

The items were probably purchased legally through the prison "buy-up" system, for about $1,600. Their black market value after 10 August could be more than $12,000.

"We know from other jurisdictions that have gone smoke free that any tobacco items in prisons become very valuable," said Commissioner Severin. "Fortunately for us, compared with other forms of contraband, the use of tobacco is easier to detect because of the smell."

Inmates have been provided with a range of assistance to help them stop smoking. The extra contraband searches in prisons will continue in the coming month.