Prisoners have been ordering takeaways to an open prison but were caught out when the “intruders" – delivery drivers – were collared.

Inmates at HMP Thorn Cross used smuggled-in mobile phones to place takeaway orders on food apps, like Deliveroo or Just Eat, to be delivered to the jail.

It is not known how many orders were made, but prison chiefs say the 430-capacity jail in Cheshire has now "improved perimeter security" to put off "intruders", as well as crack down on "drop-offs".

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Intruders are normally drug dealers who stroll into open prisons and supply inmates with packages containing drugs, phones, tobacco and other contraband, which are then sold to other lags.

Prisoners at HMP Thorn Cross have in the past got pals on the outside to deliver packages of food to them – including T-bone steak, sausages and bacon – but are now turning to takeaways.

A prison source said that almost all "intruders" were criminals who supplied inmates with contraband, but said that some prisoners had got "too cocky" and tried to order takeaways.

He said: “It’s not unheard of for takeaway delivery drivers to turn up at open prisons.

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“The drivers don’t know it’s a prison because there aren’t huge walls or fences, but they don’t often get through – there are the odd exception though.”

In a report out into HMP Thorn Cross last week, inspectors stated that "managing" the security of the boundaries of the jail – which are open to prisoners and members of the public alike – was a "continual challenge".

The report, by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) stated that "unauthorised drop-offs" – packages of contraband as well as takeaway orders – had been "reduced".

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It states: “Managing the security of estate boundaries remains a continual challenge.

“The number of unauthorised drop-offs has reduced significantly.

“Extra night patrols, including the use of the north west area search team and the use of patrol dogs in prime times for intruders, has been of benefit.

“A named police liaison officer for intruders and trafficking has been allocated to the prison."

It added: “Improved perimeter security and changed shift patterns has brought about a significant reduction in the amount of contraband brought in.”

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