The use of drones to drop items into prisons is "an emerging threat", an intelligence analyst has warned.
Even the highest security prisons are vulnerable to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Eve Richard, a senior analyst at the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) intelligence unit said, the Independent reported.
While there is no evidence to suggest drones have been used to smuggle weapons into prisons there is the potential for that to happen in future, she told a briefing at the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London.
According to the paper Ms Richard said: "In a nutshell, our intelligence suggests that the use of UAVs to release items into our prisons is an emerging threat. It's not a huge issue at the moment but there is the potential for it to increase and become more of an issue."
There were nine attempts to use drones to infiltrate prisons in England and Wales in the first five months of this year, compared to four in total last year, NOMS said.
The paper reported that there was an attempt to fly a drone carrying mobile phones and drugs into Bedford Prison earlier this year, while in recent weeks a UAV was found crashed into fencing at Liverpool Prison.