9am Briefing: Prison inmates start riot

UP to 70 prisoners went on a riot at Addiewell Prison, firing snooker balls as missiles and setting fires.

The incident yesterday afternoon saw a number of inmates take control of one wing of the West Lothian prison for more than three hours. The rampage sparked a full emergency response from police, the Scottish Ambulance Service, and Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service.

Prisoners took control of the wing at around 4.30pm, using snooker balls as missiles and are reported to have set off multiple small fires before police gained control at around 7.45pm. There were no reported injuries to prisoners or staff.

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A spokeswoman for Sodexo Justice Services, which runs the prison, last night said: “We can confirm that an incident has occurred at HMP Addiewell. There are no reported injuries.” She added that the riot had broken out in one wing, while the rest of the prison had continued to run as usual.

An internal investigation into the incident is due to take place.

* POLICE are hunting an armed robber who escaped with a three-figure sum from a betting shop on New Year’s Day.

The incident at Coral Bookmakers, in Great Junction Street in Leith, left a member of staff “very shaken”.

Police said the robber ordered the member of staff to put money into a bag before fleeing the scene at around 4pm yesterday. It is thought the suspect may have been holding a weapon under his jacket.

The robber is a white man, around 30 years old, about 6ft and of medium build. He had dark hair, dark stubble and was wearing large silver-rimmed sunglasses and a blue, hooded anorak with grey or brown patches on each shoulder. He spoke with a local accent and was carrying a black reusable shopping bag with a white printed design on each side.

A police spokesman said: “This was a frightening experience for the member of staff.”

He added: “The area was cordoned off for a short time while searches were carried out.”

* A MAN was taken to hospital with chest pains following a fire in a block of flats in West Lothian today.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue service said a pile of rubbish was set on fire in a common stair in Mosside Road, Blackburn, just before 4am.

The 39-year-old was taken to St John’s Hospital by ambulance. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Two men were treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation but did not travel to hospital. Three fire appliances from Bathgate and Livingston attended.