Inmate reveals how to make deadly shotgun from components available INSIDE Barlinnie
Chris Musson - Daily ecord - Oct 19 2009
An inmate at Scotland's largest prison has built a deadly DIY shotgun in his cell. And detailed plans showing how the powerful weapon is made are being circulated among inmates at notorious Barlinnie in Glasgow.
A Record investigation can reveal the crude, but lethal, gun was made from scratch using bits and pieces picked up around the overcrowded prison.
The weapon fires heavy pellets made from a lump of lead picked up in the prison's roofing workshop. Authorities were unaware of the terrifying creation until the Record alerted the Scottish Prison Service yesterday.
Our investigators have seen the gun being fired - blowing a huge hole in an inch-thick piece of wood.
The inmate who made it had previous knowledge of firearms before going into Bar-L. He was released recently and strolled out of jail with the gun components in his bag.
The man claims he was forced to hand over a diagram of the design to hardmen prisoners before being freed.
Several men are known to be hoarding the various components, which could be used for a prison assassination, hostage taking or even an escape bid.
The Record knows exactly how the gun is assembled but will not publish the details in case the methods are copied. We have now made the information available to police and prison authorities.
The inmate who built the weapon said he did it as a "challenge" after noticing lax security in the overcrowded jail.
He said it took just three minutes to rebuild the components into a weapon in his cell and said similar materials could also be used to make a bomb.
The man said: "Iwanted to give myself a hobby, and prove what a disgrace the security situation in Barlinnie is.
"My mistake was telling some of the other guys, as it was then made crystal clear I had to hand over the plans. The prison service needs to know about what's going on in there now."
Our investigators made contact with the man after a tip-off about the gun.
He revealed that the idea came about after he noticed the prison canteen shop - which delivers weekly shopping bags to cells - was selling a brand of matches which can be ground down and used as a charge to fire a bullet.
The man said he bet fellow cons he could build the gun using Scottish Bluebell strike-anywhere matches, as well as various components picked up around the prison.
But when he managed the feat, he said the men turned on him. And he said they made him hand over the plans before he was freed from prison.
He said several prisoners, including a man on remand for culpable homicide, were stashing the components before he left prison and trying to build the guns.
Among the items used to construct the DIY gun weapon are items lifted from cleaning cupboards in the prison halls, prison workshops, as well as plastic tweezers from the health centre.
The explosive charge comes from the ground-down matches. The components he smuggled from jail have now been destroyed.
The source said security at Barlinnie was "incredibly lax". He said: "The officers are more interested in sitting on the computer and making cups of coffee than doing their 'locks, bolts and bars' searches."
Our source said prison officers were meant to search several cells a day in each of Barlinnie's five prison wings or halls. But he claimed: "The searches simply don't happen most of the time. The officers just fill out the paperwork to say they have.
"It's meant to be done at random so every cell should be getting a spin once every few weeks but it doesn't happen like that.
"Even if you are searched, it has to be something serious - a knife or something - before they actually confiscate it."
As well as inadequate cell searches, the prisoner said it was easy to smuggle items between different areas of Barlinnie.
Components used to make the guns were gathered from areas including the roofing and plumbing workshops.
He said: "It's ridiculously easy to smuggle things out of the workshops and the health centre. You get a cursory pat-down coming out but nothing else. It's all very half-hearted.
"They'll check people's back pockets and if they find a lighter, say, they will fine you £1 by saying you've been smoking and breaking the rules. But you can get pretty much anything out, especially if you put it in your underwear. They need much more stringent checks."
The prisoner said he was sure versions of his gun were now being made in Barlinnie.
And he said the Scottish Prison Service should ban the sale of the strike-anywhere matches.
He said: "I know some prisoners have already been stockpiling the Scottish Bluebell matches and gathering the various bits and bobs. They need get the canteen shop to stop selling those matches right away. I've no idea why they're doing it.
"The officers will also need to spin every cell in the prison to make sure none of those matches are stashed. I actually couldn't believe it when I saw the canteen shop was selling the Scottish Bluebells. Any idiot knows that those kind of matches can be ground down and used as an explosive. They are effectively selling gunpowder to prisoners.
"If they were safety matches, the gun wouldn't work. It would just make a sort of puff and have very little explosive force. It's only about 15p for a box of matches and you get them delivered straight to your cell in the weekly canteen bags. You fill in an order sheet and the stuff gets delivered to your cell a few days later."
The source said the DIY shotgun could easily be used to kill a person.
He said: "I had no intention of using it against anyone. To me, it was just something to do. But in the wrong hands it could be used to assassinate someone. The knowledge is going around. I know that for a fact and there are plenty of people in there who have the time and inclination to try to build one of these."
Last night, the Scottish Prison Service declined to comment.
Safety matches are just as cheap
The strike-anywhere matches being sold to prisoners - and used to power the DIY gun - are bought cut-price from a cash and carry. But prison bosses would pay the same for safety matches.
Unlike safety matches, which must be lit on a special strip, Scottish Bluebell can be ignited on any surface.
The wholesalers used by the Scottish Prison Service are JW Filshill of Hillington, Glasgow. They sell 100 boxes of Scottish Bluebell for £7.27 - about 7p a pack. Filshill charge the same price for 100 boxes of Bryant & May safety matches. The Prison Service sell Scottish Bluebell matches to inmates for about 15p a box.
Inside a world of weapons
Prison weapons come in many shapes and sizes. But few are as ingenious and terrifying as the lethal DIY shotgun. Usually inmates hell-bent on settling scores or protecting themselves improvise crude blades.
Cons will sharpen anything they can get their hands on, such as toothbrushes and cutlery. Other weapons confiscated in UK prisons include knuckledusters and whips with razor blades attached.
Drugs kingpin fooled prison authorities before jail escape
Justice minister: 'prison is a bit of a skoosh'
Ex-judge accused of spanking U.S. male inmates in his office
Paganism gaining popularity in US prisons
Readers please email comments to: editorial AT martinfrost.ws including full name
|Note: martinfrost.ws contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.|
|Return to home page