London, July 3 : A new report has revealed that the number of banned mobile phones confiscated in UK jails has soared by 40 per cent.
Prison officers said that the illegal trade in mobiles increased after their black market price fell from 500 pounds to 200 pounds.
According to the report, about one in 23 prisoners now has access to phones, which can be used to buy drugs, arrange riots and scare witnesses.
The prison, which had the worst hit, was Highpoint in Suffolk, where 231 phones were seized last year - up from 81 in 2006.
The second was Wormwood Scrubs in West London with 197, followed by North London's Pentonville - nicknamed 'The Carphone Warehouse' - with 195.
The report showed that the total number of cards and handsets seized was up from 2,248 in 2006 to 3,606 last year as the prison population hit a bursting-point 83,000.
The figures were listed in a Prison Service report collated after a question in Parliament.
"It is worrying. These inmates are carrying on as if they are still on the street," The Sun quoted an officer, as saying.