HEWELL prison will be among the first to receive tough airport-style security to tackle the flow of drugs, phones and weapons being smuggled behind bars.

The Tardebigge jail is one of the first seven across England and Wales selected to receive the new equipment as part of the Government’s £100 million investment to bolster security in prisons.

X-ray baggage scanners and metal detectors, will step-up searching of visitors and staff on entry to Hewell, enforced by specially trained officers.

This is part of a wider package of investment including X-ray body scanners for offenders and drug detection equipment to identify and deter attempts to smuggle narcotics, such as Spice, through prisoner mail.

The chosen prisons have been prioritised as they face significant security challenges and the new measures – set to be in place by spring 2020 - will make a significant difference to the stability of each jail.

Prisons Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “The gate and reception are key areas of vulnerability to smuggling and more robust searching of staff, visitors and prisoners will help reduce the flow of drugs, phones and weapons.

“This game-changing package of equipment is part of the Government’s new £2.75bn investment to modernise and maintain our prisons, create 10,000 additional places, and crack down on crime behind bars.”

“All of these elements are crucial as we create a system that can rehabilitate, cut reoffending and ultimately make our communities safer.”

Alongside strengthening security at the prison gate and reception, the £100 million investment includes a new digital forensics facility, expanded digital investigations team and phone-blocking technology to clampdown on the organised crime behind bars that drives violence and self-harm.

The cash boost comes just weeks after the Advertiser reported that the open accommodation at HMP Hewell, which houses around 200 inmates, was called totally unacceptable and will be closed for good.

Decommissioning the accommodation at Hewell will take place over a period of months and it is expected the open jail will close by March 2020.

Prisoners who will not be released before closure of the site, will be relocated to other suitable prisons.