Eerie prison once UK’s most overcrowded where inmates planted maggots for compo

Eerie pictures have been captured inside a decaying former prison with a troubled past plagued by drugs, overcrowding and maggots.

HMP Kennet – the former men's category C proison in Maghull, Merseyside closed in 2017 – just 10 years after it opened. It was poorly designed and among the most expensive jails of its kind. Cheeky lags even hatched a plan to sue the Prison Service after planting grubs in their food in a bid to win compensation.

Much of the site has recently been demolished to make way for a hospital park but a few buildings and cells remain in tact. Earlier this week, urban explorers from Dark Explores UK found their way in and took a look around.

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Images show cramped cells with paint peeling off the walls. Panes of glass in the doors of the security quarters have been smashed and enclosed areas laced with barbed wire remain eerily quiet.

Reacting to the pictures on Facebook, one person said: "The irony of this is just fabulous. Usually you hear of people trying to sneak out!"

The prison came to be when the National Offender Management Service faced overcrowding in prisons across the country in 2006. One of the solutions to combat the issue was for Ashworth high security hospital’s east site to be converted into a prison.

After a £19m conversion project , this became known as Kennet Prison. When the facility opened officially in February 2008, it was said it would help solve the region’s prison population crisis.

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But didn't go exactly to plan, Liverpool Echo reports.

After just two years the prison had become among the most overcrowded in the country. At the time, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice, HMP Kennet was running at 193% capacity, holding nearly double the amount of inmates it was designed for.

In 2015, inmates planted maggots in their food in a brazen bid to win compensation payouts.

A source told the Echo: “It seems the prisoners intended to create a maggot infestation.

“They were bringing them into their cells in containers and putting them into food.

“Lots refused to eat and were kicking up, saying they would sue the Prison Service.

“If successful, they could have been paid hundreds or thousands each.”

The inmates were believed to have collected the larvae from a broken waste compactor at the category C jail’s waste management centre.

Wardens became suspicious when outbreaks occurred on two consecutive days. The waste compactor was swiftly fixed.

The following year, 44-year-old Donna Cluskey was jailed for nearly four years after taking cocaine, heroin and cannabis into the Maghull jail.

That same month, Michael Gove announced the prison would close by July 2017 – less than 10 years after it was opened. Mr Gove said Kennet had been "poorly designed" and one of the most expensive of its time.

Having been out of use for seven years, it now faces a wrecking ball and the prison site will be landscaped as part of Maghull Health Park’s development.

Merseycase NHS Foundation Trust said: "The sight of the decaying property was unsettling for some of the most vulnerable patients within the NHS, so the £1.5million demolition of the site has been agreed with an expected completion date of February 2024."

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