Prisoner Boasts Of Drinking And Games On Facebook

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A convicted arsonist has used a smuggled mobile phone to boast on Facebook about getting drunk whilst in jail and playing computer games

The use of Facebook by criminals is once again in the headlines, after a convicted arsonist used a smuggled mobile phone to boast on Facebook about his cushy lifestyle behind bars.

Brendan Rawsthorn, from Blackburn, Lancashire, boasted of playing computer games, drinking beer and putting his ”feet up” all day.

Rawsthorn made the boasts under his profile name of Brendan Blows. He also managed to use the mobile phone to post pictures of himself inside his cell, at HMP Wolds, near Hull, East Yorkshire.

One posting read: ”All day is playing on my PlayStation and listing to music with my feet up, drinking prison home brew.”

He also described himself as a “down to earth jail bird” who is “doing time for the Queen! Making money!”

The 25-year-old is serving an indefinite sentence, after he was jailed in November 2006 for starting a fire at a builder’s merchants in Darwen, Lancashire, which caused £200,000 damage.

A spokeswoman for Facebook quoted on the Daily Telegraph said that the page has since been taken down.

”The profile in question has been removed by our User Operations team as it was in breach of our terms of use,” she said. “’If anyone has concerns about the way an individual is using Facebook, we strongly encourage them to report this to us for investigation by our dedicated user support team.”

The prison said it has launched a full investigation.

The case bears hallmarks of an escaped criminal who used Facebook to taunt British police over the Christmas period.

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28 year old Craig “Lazie” Lynch absconded from the 330-inmate Hollesley Bay open prison near Woodbridge, Suffolk. Lynch then created a Facebook web page in which he bragged about relaxing on a sunbed, eating 12lb steaks, and making plans to attend a New Year’s Eve party in Lowestoft, Suffolk. He was later arrested by police.

The use of smuggled mobile phones is well known problem for the authorities. In December, it emerged that a total of 8,099 mobile phones or SIM cards had been confiscated in prisons in England and Wales in 2008, compared to just 2,272 seized in 2006.

In an effort to combat the problem, a US company developed what it called the “Bloodhound detector”, which ‘sniffs out’ and locates mobile phones being used in restricted environments. The Bloodhound detector is mainly designed for use in prisons.