Jail search reveals replica keys

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The Independent Online
A search at the top-security Whitemoor jail found replica keys intended for use in an escape, the Prison Service confirmed. Two plastic key patterns were found in a communal area of the prison, near March in Cambridgeshire, a spokeswoman said.

The patterns were incomplete and not intended to open cell doors, though finished keys would have opened several internal doors. A search of theprison, from which six inmates, including five IRA men, broke out in 1994, was ordered last weekend after reports that "illicit items" had been smuggled in. Such searches are routine at Whitemoor since a report on the break- out criticised governors. Officers planned to continue searching over the next couple of days but, apart from the keys, no illicit goods had been found, the service said.

It denied reports on the BBC Look East programme last night that the finished keys would have enabled prisoners to reach the perimeter fence. "This kind of method is not new," the spokeswoman said. "Prisoners do try and escape from time to time. That's one of the reasons why we search prisons."