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Drones caught delivering phones, drugs to U.K. prison

Police have recovered two drones carrying mobile phones and drugs near London’s Pentonville prison and have set up a special task force — Operation Airborne — to catch offenders trying to get contraband into the facility.

London's Pentonville prison set up Operation Airborne to catch offenders

Police said Monday they recovered two drones carrying phones and drugs near a London prison. (Metropolitan Police)

While Amazon and the British government are looking into how to use drones to deliver parcels to customers, criminals are already exploiting the technology to send drugs to accomplices in prison.

Police said on Monday they recovered two drones carrying mobile phones and drugs near London's Pentonville prison and have set up a special task force — Operation Airborne — to catch offenders trying to get contraband into the facility.

In the early hours of Saturday, police saw a man acting suspiciously near the prison. He ran away, dropping two bags containing drugs and mobile phones, and managed to evade arrest, according to a police statement.

The next day, police found a drone that had crashed after being tracked flying over Pentonville.

Police were able to recover a large number of drugs and mobile phones. (Metropolitan Police)

They were later alerted to another drone being flown at low altitude towards the prison. The unmanned aircraft was stopped in mid-flight by a police officer, and a package containing large amounts of drugs and two mobile phones was recovered from it.

Appealing for witnesses, Det. Chief Insp. Steve Heatley said: "These recovered drones carried a substantial amount of Class B drugs, legal highs and a large quantity of mobile phones."

Last month, Amazon announced a partnership with the government "to explore the steps needed to make the delivery of parcels by small drones a reality, allowing Amazon to trial new methods of testing its delivery systems."

British media reported in February that there were more than 30 incidents last year involving drones that were found in or around prisons, and items such as drugs, phones and USB drives were recovered.

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