More than 100 crimes have been reported at HMP Berwyn since April.

A meeting of Wrexham rural community council representativesheard that a total of 130 offences had been reported since the new Wrexham prison opened in February.

Sgt Steve Owens, of the North Wales Police Wrexham Rural team, said 109 incidents had been reported since April.

The offences included assaults on staff, along with possession of drugs and mobile phones.

The meeting heard three detective constables and one detective sergeant were based permanently at the prison.

HMP Berwyn opened in February and places an emphasis on prisoner rehabilitation.

Chief Insp Dave Jolly gave a positive picture of the prison overall.

While he said the figures might cause some consternation, he urged community council representatives to speak to governor Russ Trent about HMP Berwyn’s rehabilitation work.

He said: “As much as people have their doubts about the concept, the prison will definitely succeed in what Russ wants to do.”

When asked about dealing with any suspicions of offences involving visitors, Chief Insp Jolly said they could exchange information and operations were put in place to deal with such matters, for example people with links to organised crime groups. 

During the meeting police moved to allay concerns over crime in rural Wrexham after a 36.7 per cent rise in reported incidents in the area.

The meeting heard there were 3,881 recorded incidents this year to date, compared with 2,839 at the same time last year.

Insp Dave Jolly said increases were largely down to an increase in the accuracy of recording crimes and an increased public confidence in being able to report them.

Chief Insp Jolly pointed out an increase in reported domestic violence cases, but added recorded offences could be from several years before.

Sgt SteveOwens added there had been a 0.6 per cent decrease in anti-social behaviour, as opposed to a 1.1 per cent drop across North Wales.

He added there was a 10.3 per cent rise in arson and criminal damage cases, from 595 to 656.

But Chief Insp Jolly added litter bin fires were now recorded in the statistics as arson, as Sgt Owens said they were related to anti-social behaviour where indiscriminate damage had been caused, adding that the area did not have a vehicle fire problem as there had been in Caia Park.  

There were plans in place to deal with the issue, he added.

There was also a rise from 477 to 604 in theft and handling cases, although Sgt Owens said these were “quite small numbers”.

The meeting also heard that there was 51.8 per cent increase in violence without injury cases, 959 to 1,456 recorded incidents.

Sgt Owens added that North Wales was second in a list of UK force areas where people are the most unlikely to be a victim of crime.  

Chief Insp Jolly said the increase could cause come concern, but that it was “more about reporting mechanisms, and that the victims probably have more confidence reporting domestic violence”.