December 16, 2016 / 1:48 PM / a year ago

"Serious" disturbance erupts at UK jail, prison officers say

LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - A serious disturbance involving some 300 inmates broke out at a jail in central England on Friday, the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) said, the latest incident of trouble at a British prison this year.

The POA said it had been informed there was an ongoing “serious incident” at HMP Birmingham, in Winson Green near the city centre which can hold 1,450 male prisoners.

“National Resources have been deployed to deal with this incident involving approximately 300 prisoners within 2 Prison Wings,” the POA said in a statement. “No staff injuries have been reported and staff are currently monitoring the situation and awaiting national support.”

The BBC reported that prison officers had pulled out of the two wings after a member of staff was overpowered by inmates who stole his keys.

G4S, the private firm which runs the prison, said it had responded to an incident which began shortly after 0900 GMT and involved two wings of the jail which was built in 1849. It gave no further details.

There have been several incidents in jails this year including an alleged murder, and last month prisoners took over parts of Bedford prison in central England before police and extra prison officers were drafted in to restore control.

A week after the Bedford incident, thousands of prison officers in England and Wales walked out in protest at rising levels of jail violence and concerns about the health and safety of staff and inmates. (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

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