'I spent years behind bars – lags from two UK cities always run prisons'

Gang members from Liverpool and Manchester rule the roost in UK prisons, Jamie says
-Credit: (Image: ‘Daily Express – On The Edge’)

A career criminal who has spent years of his life behind bars says that Liverpudlians run Britain’s prisons, because they’re “always grafting.”

Between the ages of 18 and 30, Jamie Robinson was inside for "every Christmas and birthday". He warns that being inside is far harder than most young people can imagine.

Violence – whether in the form of beatings, stabbings, or deliberately scalding another inmate with boiling sugar-water – is a daily fact of life, with the emergency bell ringing “four or five time a day, comfortably”.

Adding sugar to water raises its boiling point, making the already scalding-hot liquid into so-called “prison napalm.” Speaking on Daily Express' On The Edge podcast, he said: “If there’s a drama…the main guys say what’s going to go down but nine times out of 10 they won’t do it themselves, they’ll pay someone to do it. They’ll fill the kettle up, add half a bag of sugar, an they’ll come up behind someone – you can’t miss, water spreads when you throw it. It’s bad.”

Violence on the wings is a daily event
Violence on the wings is a daily event -Credit:Corbis via Getty Images

The “main guys”, tend to be from one of two cities: “Local to where I was, it was Mancs, Scousers, and then everybody else underneath. That’s how it is.

“The Scousers and the Mancs normally run the wings that they’re on. I've been in in jails in London, I've been in jails in middle of nowhere, it's always the same."

Prisoners can be attacked for “the pettiest” reasons, Jamie adds, but most common reason, is over drugs. The use of Spice, a synthetic replacement for cannabis, is prevalent in every jail.

Jamie says most young people, tempted by a life of crime, mistakenly think prison will be easy
Jamie says most young people, tempted by a life of crime, mistakenly think prison will be easy -Credit:‘Daily Express – On The Edge’

He explained: “Spice is the currency in prison, it used to be tobacco and stuff like that, but it’s Spice now. It used to be sprayed onto your mail, and sent through the post. But they got onto that and the officers started photocopying your letters – even your photographs were photocopied – but there’s still ways of getting it in.”

An A4 sheet of paper impregnated with Spice can sell for £150, with prisoners tearing it into small pieces and smoking the drug using vape pens. A tiny piece can leave a user unconscious, and "completely mashed-up".

There’s a close tie between Spice and the violence, he added. “I’ve seen eight-stone lads taking a punch off a 22-stone guy – if you can take the punch, you don’t have to pay for the Spice,” Jamie explained.

Jamie says most young people, tempted by a life of crime, mistakenly think prison will be easy
Inmates are constantly thinking up new ways to smuggle contraband into their cells -Credit:Corbis via Getty Images

While the sugar-water attacks are simply intended to cause pain, inmates will sometimes go as far as outright murder. Jamie, who was once a promising footballer and enrolled in Blackburn Rovers’ footballing academy, was taking part in a match in prison when he noticed another player go down, apparently from a rough tackle.

“I remember thinking, ‘Are you injured? or are you blagging or what?’ So I walked over to see and he literally had a Nescafé jar sticking out of his neck.” The killing, Jamie said, was simply because the inmates had belonged to rival gangs on the outside. He said: “I don’t think the beef was personal between them, it was just about the areas that they were from.

“You’ve got to be careful in jail, There’s killers in there, real hardened criminals.”