INMATES armed with pool cues and balls set a fire as they trashed their wing during a prison mutiny sparked by a smoking ban, a court heard.

The 'prolonged' riot at HMP Long Lartin was said to have caused £50,000 of damage and incurred almost as much again in costs after specialist officers were rushed in to quell the violence.


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Control of the situation at the category A Worcestershire prison was only regained after almost eight hours of disorder during which prison officers were forced to flee the wing.

Billy Midmore, 30, Richard Shanahan, 30, Paul Mapps, 34, and Richard Taylor, 27, deny mutiny at the prison in South Littleton, near Evesham.

Stefan Kolodynski, prosecuting the trial at Worcester Crown Court, has opened the case to the jury following the alleged violence in October 2017 in the prison's Echo Wing which housed 86 prisoners.

He said: "The catalyst for the incident was apparently the imposition of a smoking ban in September 2017. A letter written by Mapps which was seized by the prison indicates as much."

The jury heard how there was a sit-down protest within the prison involving Mapps, Shanahan and Taylor on October 2, 2017 which ended peacefully and led to all three being placed on restriction.

Mr Kolodynski said Mapps indicated 'a peaceful protest didn't work so next time we will need to ramp it up'.

"On October 11, 2017 at around 5.55pm the Echo Wing alarm was triggered due to officers being chased off the wing by prisoners wielding pool cues and balls," said Mr Kolodynski.

The incident ended at about 1.40am the following day when 120 Tornado Team officers - specialist officers trained to quell riots - were deployed at a cost of approximately £44,000.

Meanwhile, damage caused during the disturbance was placed at £50,000.

He added: "The wing was deemed uninhabitable after the incident and took 12 weeks to repair."

Prisoners alleged to have been involved had to be deployed to other prisons after the incident. Furniture and equipment was damaged, a fire was lit in the office causing 'widespread damage' and a cell was flooded when a fire hose was placed though the hatch in a cell. All staff left the wing.

Mr Kolodynski said Mapps and Shanahan were armed with pool balls and cues, warning 'screws' to 'get off the landing'. One prison officer was said to have narrowly avoided being hit by a pool ball. Shanahan was said to have thrown several pool balls at prison officers. Shanahan was also alleged to have placed snooker balls inside a pillow case before climbing onto safety netting, shooting the contents of a fire extinguisher into the lens of a CCTV camera and obscuring another with tape.

Taylor was said to have been seen chasing one prison officer while wielding a raised snooker cue. Mapps was said to have walked across the prison netting with a fire extinguisher in one hand and a hose spraying water in the other. Midmore was said to have hit a cell door repeatedly with an object or weapon, pulled down a fire hose from the floor above, removed a fire blanket from the kitchen after the fire started and to climb onto netting.

The trial continues.