A Prison governor has been bailed by police over bribery and drugs allegations at Wormwood Scrubs, we can reveal. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been suspended pending a police investigation. Bosses at the Category B West London men’s prison — widely known as The Scrubs — called police when the claims emerged.
Officers from Scotland Yard’s anti-corruption unit arrested the man on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and drugs offences. He is a governor — not the one in overall charge — at the 1,279-capacity Victorian nick whose former lags have included serial killer Ian Brady. A source said: “Prison bosses acted swiftly when the allegations came to light. “They relate to his conduct with inmates involving bribery and drugs. It’s a very serious situation.”
Prison staff were notified by email of his suspension. An officer at another jail was also suspended. The Met said it investigated in tandem with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service’s counter-corruption unit. A spokesman said: “As a result, a manager within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service was arrested on 14 December on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and drugs offences.
“The man has been interviewed and released under investigation pending further enquiries.” A Ministry of Justice spokesman added: “Two members of staff have been suspended. It would be inappropriate to comment further while police investigate.”
According to the Ministry of Justice, 1,121 officers and other employees were dismissed for transgressions of 40 separate categories of misconduct between 2014 and 2020.
Forty-three lost their jobs after embarking on ‘inappropriate’ relationships with convicts and more than 500 were let go for issues relating to ‘breach of security’, ‘performance of duties’, ‘bringing discredit on Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service’ or other unspecified ‘professional misconduct’.
Three staff were fired in 2015-16 for negligence on prisoner escapes with four others sacked the following year for being ‘unfit for duty through drink or drugs’. Other reasons for staff being given the boot included the use of ‘unnecessary force’ on prisoners, sexual harassment or assault and being ‘asleep on duty’.
In one incident, an unnamed prison officer at HMP Rye Hill in Northamptonshire was dismissed after she ‘failed to notice’ a sex offender was dead in December 2019. An official report said the guard opened Stephen Maddock’s cell but did not check on him, ‘which meant that no one realised [he] was dead for another half an hour’
The cases of staff having affairs with prisoners included Lauren McIntyre, 32, who worked as an officer at HMP Albany on the Isle of Wight. Now serving three years behind bars herself, she had a four-month affair with double murderer Andrew Roberts and provided him with the phone number of a fellow officer whom he later attacked.
Meanwhile, officer Stephanie Smithwhite was jailed for having an affair with notorious gangster and drug dealer Curtis Warren – whose name she had tattooed on her body – at the maximum-security HMP Frankland near Durham.
In another case, more than 1,200 phone calls were made between officer Ayshea Gunn and Khuram Razaq – who was serving 12 years for conspiracy to rob – during a four-month affair at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham. According to the new data, 13,432 prison staff have been investigated since 2014 for alleged offences including 700 cases of abusive language or behaviour towards prisoners, visitors or colleagues.
Others were investigated for racial harassment, failing to obey orders, ‘misuse of IT’ and other alleged offences.
In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Ministry of Justice said: ‘The vast majority of prison officers and other staff carry out their duties to the high standards the public rightly expect, but the small minority who fall short of those standards are held to account.’
Their salaries begin at £22,850 and one former guard explained: “If someone offers them £400 quid, that’s more than their wage.
In Febuary 2021 2 corrupt prison officers pocketed almost £168,000 between them after stealing thousands of DVDs, games consoles and electrical goods due to be sorted by inmates at Forest Bank jail.
At Manchester Crown Court Paul Hewitt, from Radcliffe, and his colleague Paul Albertson, from The Wirral, were each given 15-month prison sentences for what Judge Anthony Cross QC described as “a gross breach of trust”.
The court heard how company, LTV had a contract with the prison for inmates to repackage and return items from retailers to their suppliers.
But when bags of products were delivered to the prison for sorting there was no record of their contents, giving several corrupt officers the opportunity to help themselves to items before they were sent to the prison workshops.
Hewitt and Albertson’s crimes came to light during an investigation into their colleagues Carl Byron, an anti-corruption officer at the prison from Manchester Road, Over Hulton and Anthony Bradbury, from Haslam Street Bury. They were jailed for two years and 10 months and two years and two months
When bank accounts were looked at they revealed Albertson had received £19,200 for the sale of 700 items on Ebay between October 2015 and June 2017 plus £63,972 from CeX for 1,600 items. A further £12,000 in his account could not be accounted for. Hewitt had made £67,849 from 2,000 Ebay sales between January 2016 and June 2017.
Lainie Martin was rumbled by two of her colleagues back in April. The 25-year-old took mobile phones, chargers and sim cards into HMP Forest Bank while working as an officer.
She also smuggled in tobacco. Martin wore gym pants under her uniform. She put items in the waistband before taking them into the prison. Staff became suspicious when they spotted Martin using a bathroom on a different wing to where she was working at around 8am on Saturday April 7, 2018. They watched her walk down the healthcare wing and enter a single female toilet. When two officers searched the toilets, they discovered Martin’s haul of prohibited items in a bin.