First private jail loses all its keys

Inmates at the first UK prison to be transferred to the private sector were locked in their cells for almost a full day after a set of keys fitting every cell door went missing.

Staff at Birmingham Prison, which houses 1,450 prisoners and was taken over by the private security firm G4S this month, noticed the keys were missing on Tuesday. It is not known if they have been found, or what action has been taken by the prison, but the firm insisted there was no risk to public safety.

A G4S spokeswoman said: "All prisons have well-established contingency plans to deal with incidents of this nature."