Two men jailed for throwing banned items over the walls of Forest Bank prison

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Drugs, a drone and mini mobile phones were found at properties as part of the police investigation.

Two men from Salford have been jailed after admitting throwing banned items over the walls of a Manchester prison.

James Rourke, 34, and 20-year-old Mitchell Murdern were both put behind bars after pleading guilty to getting banned items to inmates at HMP Forest Bank.

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The pair were caught by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after they were identified on CCTV footage throwing parcels containing contraband in to the exercise yards at the jail between September and November 2021.

They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convey list A, B and C items into the prison.

Rourke, of Ventnor Street, was jailed for four years and eight months while Murdern, of Carina Place, was given two years in prison.

The police attended the duo’s homes and associated properties as part of the investigation and found class A, B and C drugs alongside a drone and mini mobile phones.

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What have the police said about the prison sentences?

The arrests of Rourke and Murdern were made under Operation Dragonfire, a multi-agency effort to crack down on illegal and contraband items getting into prisons across Greater Manchester.

A GMP spokesperson said: “The conveyance of illegal items into our prisons is a growing and evolving threat. Drugs empower organised crime groups (OCGs) on both sides of the prison walls fuelling violence, exploitation and bullying especially due to the vast, inflated profits to be made.

“The close collaboration between HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), GMP and HMP Forest Bank, under Operation Dragonfire, has led to the dismantling of this local OCG responsible for conveying a huge amount of illegal items into the prison.

“The number of throw-overs at the prison has now fallen and it is a safer community at Forest Bank for officers, staff and prisoners.”

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Anyone with information about this type of crime should contact the police by visiting the GMP website or ringing 101 , quoting Operation Dragonfire.

Information can also be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.