2 Jan 2011

Riot quelled after inmates set fire to British jail

9:53 am on 2 January 2011

Specialist prison guards in body armour have quelled a riot by about 40 inmates at an open jail in southern England.

The riot began about midnight on New Year's Eve at Ford Prison near Arundel in West Sussex after inmates smashed windows and started fires.

The prison officers' union says inmates of the low-security jail had objected to being breath-tested for alcohol.

Six accommodation blocks, a gymnasium, a mail room, a snooker room and a pool room including 10 newly-installed pool tables have also been burned to the ground, the BBC reports.

Some 160 prisoners are being transferred to other jails.

There have been no reports of injuries to staff or prisoners and there will be an investigation in to what caused the riot, the Prison Service said.

At Ford Prison inmates are not generally confined to individual cells and may work outside. Several hundred prisoners are believed to be housed there.