Beds, Herts & Bucks

HMP Bedford riot: Prisoners caused £1m of damage, BBC learns

HMP Bedford with a police van outside Image copyright PA
Image caption Michael Rolfe from the Prison Officers Association said Bedford Prison was an "absolute mess" after Sunday's unrest

Damage caused by prisoners who were involved in a riot at Bedford Prison will cost at least £1m to fix, the BBC has been told.

Specially-trained officers were called to the Category B jail at 17:00 GMT on Sunday.

Three men were arrested in connection with the unrest and up to 60 inmates were removed from the prison.

Michael Rolfe from the Prison Officers Association said: "It's been trashed. It's an absolute mess in there."

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He added: "They've destroyed furniture, there's damaged cells, there's damaged offices, there's damaged CCTV.

"When the prisoners were being told they would be let out they said we will not be going back behind our doors.

"Staff warned about that, management overruled them; they unlocked and look what's happened. We've now got two wings out of action and 220 prisoners are having to be moved out of Bedford Prison."

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption It took specially-trained officers six hours to bring the riot under control

Prisoners on wings A, B and C - gallery-style Victorian landings - were involved in the disturbance.

They also accessed the centre of the prison which usually contains prison equipment, staff files and other items such as phones.

It took six hours to bring the riot under control.

Two inmates were taken to hospital for treatment and have since returned to prison.

The three arrested men, aged 39, 37 and 26, are being questioned on suspicion of committing offences under the Prison Security Act 1992.

An internal investigation is also taking place into what happened.

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