Prison siege finally ends as hostage takers accept Mars bar in exchange for weapons after five-hour stand-off

Armed prisoners threaten to cut off victim’s ears if demands for chocolate, tobacco and drugs not met by officers

Samuel Lovett
Monday 24 February 2020 14:00
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Midlands Prison opened in 2000 and holds 870 inmates
Midlands Prison opened in 2000 and holds 870 inmates

A five-hour long hostage situation at an Irish prison was successfully diffused after an armed inmate gave up his weapon in exchange for a Mars bar.

The Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, County Laois was placed into lockdown after two inmates seized a fellow prisoner and took him hostage in a cell.

A fourth inmate was present but not involved in the ordeal.

The two assailants reportedly threatened to cut off their victim’s ears with a knife if their demands for “tobacco, Swiss rolls and Mars bars” were not met.

The prison’s emergency control and restraint team subsequently entered into lengthy negotiations with the men before persuading them to hand over their weapon in exchange for a Mars bar.

“Prisoner demands were unclear, apart from ‘drugs’ and ‘no more sleeping on mattresses’”, a spokesperson from the Prison Officers’ association told the Irish Independent.

“They sought tobacco, Swiss rolls and Mars bars. Shortly before 8.30pm staff forced entry into the cell and removed all four prisoners, meeting considerable resistance from at least two.”

A statement from Midlands Prison read: “No staff were injured and the prisoners involved received only minor injuries.

“The director-general has commended all staff involved in ensuring that this incident was successfully resolved.”

Senior prison officials have since launched an internal investigation into the incident.

Midlands Prison, which holds 870 inmates, opened in 2000. It was built adjacent to Portlaoise Prison with which it shares some facilities.

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