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A prison which installed alcoholic hand gel dispensers to combat swine flu had to withdraw them within hours after a drunken fight between inmates.
Some men apparently drank the stuff neat, while others mixed it with sugar and fruit to make hooch.
Warders noticed that three or four prisoners were the worse for wear, while one was said to have started a fist fight with another.
The governor of The Verne, a Category C jail on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, had no alternative but to ban the detergent.
Peter McParlin, south west representative of the Prison Officers' Association, said members had warned the jail's management not to introduce the gel, which is 70 per cent alcohol.
'Hooch, in the experience of staff, is just as bad if not worse than drugs.
'Prisoners with drinks which have extreme alcoholic content become extremely violent with consequences on health and security.
'We understand there was an alternative to the hand gel which was a foaming soap which did not contain alcohol but served the same purpose.
'But that was considered and disregarded as it was more expensive. The prisoners took the gel from the dispensers on the wing and put it in a kettle.
'They steamed it and strained it to leave pure alcohol and mixed that with sugared water and fruit. They turned it around very quickly.
'Prison officers noticed very quickly that three or four prisoners were in an intoxicated state and one or two were difficult to control.'
A Prison Service spokesman claimed there were no fights or reports of indiscipline at the jail, which has almost 600 inmates.
'On September 21 a prisoner showed signs of intoxication, the cause of which is being investigated.
'Antibacterial gel pumps have been removed from the prison as a precautionary measure.'
The alcoholic disinfectant was originally introduced in hospitals to combat the superbug MRSA, but it has led to several deaths among those who drank it.
In June this year, Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester removed gel dispensers from the entrance after vagrants were caught swigging from them.
They have also been withdrawn from a psychiatric complex and a hospital for the elderly in Staffordshire, amid fears that they could be risking patient's lives.
Last year two homeless people died after using hand gel from Lewisham Hospital in South-East London to concoct an alcoholic home brew.
Tags: sugar, and, fruit, make, hooch, prison, installed, alcoholic, hand, gel, dispensers, combat, swine, flu, detergent, The, Verne, Isle, of, Portland, in, Dorset, drunken, fight, between, inmates
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