Ipswich/Chelmsford: Prisoner twice smuggled bladed weapons on security van taking him to court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

Prison Service officials have refused to say whether an inquiry is being held after a prisoner twice managed to smuggle a bladed weapon onto a security van bringing him to Ipswich.

Nathan Mackenzie was due to be transported to South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court from Chelmsford prison to answer a charge of criminal damage while he was an inmate at Warren Hill young offenders’ institution, Hollesley.

However, after boarding a van which was transporting the 18-year-old to Ipswich, he is understood to have produced a bladed article, even though he would have been expected to have been searched before leaving the prison.

Guards managed to take the weapon from him.

He was then said to have been taken off the vehicle and discussions took place over whether he should be put back in the van for his court hearing.

Eventually prison officers are said to have put him back inside the vehicle, where he is understood to have produced a second bladed article, before having it confiscated.

When he arrived at Ipswich an application was made to magistrates for Mackenzie to appear in court in handcuffs given the production of two separate blades following searches earlier in the day.

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Magistrates granted the application.

When he appeared in court, MacKenzie, pleaded guilty to criminal damage of a cell sink valued at £549 belonging to Warren Hill on June 10.

He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £15 to the victims’ fund.

Asked if there was an investigation into how MacKenzie twice managed to smuggle bladed articles inside the prison van, a Prison Service spokesman said: “The safety of our staff, prisoners and others is taken very seriously.

“We have a number of measures to ensure security in prisons is maintained including body orifice security scanners (BOSS chairs) to detect internally concealed items and metal detecting wands.”

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