Detectives to quiz 80 after prison riot

DETECTIVES investigating three nights of prison riots in Doncaster have a list of 80 suspects they believe were involved.

South Yorkshire Police said officers are working their way down a list of inmates to quiz them about the disturbances, which caused millions of pounds worth of damage.

Trouble first broke out at HMP Moorland, Hatfield Woodhouse, Doncaster, on Tuesday November 2 when the young offenders' section was affected.

The riot was repeated in another wing for young offenders the following night before spreading to the adult section of the prison on the third consecutive night.

Inmates trashed the prison and on one occasion used pool balls and cues as missiles to hurl at prison staff. Fires were also lit and staff offices were destroyed.

Staff were forced to withdraw from the wings for their own safety and specialist prison service riot squads were called in to restore calm.

A Prison Service review is under way into the riots and the police investigation into the trouble is still being carried out.

The damage led to 250 prisoners having to be moved out to prisons in other parts of the country.

Detective Inspector Dave Mayfield said: "Since the disorder at Moorlands Prison in November, a team of detectives has been working full time to identify the offenders.

"As a result of enquiries South Yorkshire Police has identified 80 suspects who we believe were involved in the disorder.

"The Prison Service has provided excellent support to the police investigation, however there is still some way to go before the matter is finalised.

"A number of the suspects have yet to be interviewed, and at present it is too early to say who amongst these will face criminal charges."

Prison officers believe the riots started because prisoners are frustrated at the amount of time they are having to spend locked up in their cells due to a lack of education, training and rehabilitation courses available after funding cuts.

Doncaster's riots have been followed by disturbances at Ford Open Prison in West Sussex and Swaleside on Kent's Isle of Sheppey.

Leaders of the Prison Officers' Association are now warning of further riots at other open prisons across the country.

Chairman Colin Moses said: "Front line prison staff are engaging in weekly hand- to-hand combat as prisoners try to take control of our prisons.

"The POA has consistently warned of the increasing violence and problems that would occur in the open estate."

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