A prison officer has been arrested inside Maghaberry Prison by police investigating drug crime, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The warder (44) was arrested on Monday at the prison, handcuffed and led away by detectives.
It is understood his east Belfast home was extensively searched by police during the day.
Rest rooms used by staff serving at the prison are also understood to
have been searched with particular attention paid to the contents of a fridge on the landing where the man worked in the category A jail.
In a statement a PSNI spokesman said that a 44-year-old had been arrested in the Lisburn area on Monday “on suspicion of drugs offences”, and had been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Sources at the prison say that the officer was handcuffed by detectives on Monday morning and swiftly removed from the prison while a specially trained prison search team carried out searches of rooms used by staff in the area where he was working.
“Staff areas on the landing and in some other places were examined and the contents of a fridge were bagged and tagged and then taken away presumably for some forensic examination”, one source said.
In Maghaberry Prison last year there were 155 finds of illegal drugs and drug taking materials, as well as 54 finds of unauthorised prescription medicines. Air fresheners were another item regularly seized in the jail and 13 games consoles and 42 televisions were discovered in cells where no authorisation had been given for the possession of the items.
The Prison Service confirmed that a male prison officer had been arrested by the PSNI at Maghaberry Prison on Monday morning and has been suspended from duty as a precautionary measure.