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Publication date: Thursday, 26 October 2017
Minister for Corrections David Elliott has thanked Corrective Services officers who seized steroid capsules smuggled into Lithgow Correctional Centre with the apparent use of a drone.
It is the first time that CCTV has captured a drone that appears to be dumping contraband in a NSW prison. A member of the public first alerted the prison to the presence of the drone around the centre on Monday evening.
"I thank the member of the public and staff for their prompt response and the recovery of this contraband," Mr Elliott said.
Commonwealth regulations, as overseen by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), contain some general restrictions about the use of drones, for example restricting their use over populated areas.
"Drones are a threat to the safety and security of officers and the correctional system and I will be looking at what further safeguards can be put in place to further restrict the use of drones and other aircraft in the vicinity of prisons," Mr Elliott said.
Officers reviewed the footage and searched the area the next morning but did not find anything. They then performed a series of raids, following those raids an inmate was seen to be behaving suspiciously. That inmate was searched and officers seized two packages containing 403 capsules which was concealed in his clothing.
Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Luke Grant said strategies used to detect contraband in prisons include daily searches, detection dogs and full body scanners.
"Our staff have been on the alert for drones for some time. The use of drones to introduce illegal items into prisons is an emerging issue," Mr Grant said.
NSW Police are investigating. Anyone caught smuggling contraband can face two years prison. CCTV footage of the drone from Lithgow Correctional Centre is available.