Firefighters called to cell fire at High Down prison
Firefighters were called out to a cell fire at a prison where serious concerns have been raised about the impact of staff cuts.
Epsom firefighters responded to a call to High Down prison, between Banstead and Sutton, at 10.30am on Friday, but the fire was extinguished before the crew arrived.
It comes at a time when there are ongoing concerns about the impact of major changes in the prison's regime last year which include the loss of dozens of staff, prisoners having less time outside their cells and severe restrictions on parcels.
An Epsom firefighter said the station has been called out to tackle cell fire in prisons a number of times - usually either bedding or prisoners’ "paraphernalia" is set alight.
He said: "They have normally got a grievance against the system. It’s their way of making a stand
"There is a rigmarole getting the fire engine into the building with the security. If they have already dealt with it, they come outside to let us know."
He said prison staff have their own breathing apparatus and hose reels and tend to put out the fire before firefighters arrive. He added: "We are there if anything goes wrong."
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