THE governor of Wrexham's prison has vowed to make it a hostile environment to those wanting to deal drugs.

In an exclusive interview with the Leader, the first since the HMP Berwyn opened in February 2017, Governor Russ Trent said some of the toughest issues to deal with are those presented by the synthetic drugs such as 'spice' and 'mamba'.

Last year Wrexham hit the national headlines for all the wrong reasons when problems with those substances, formerly known as 'legal highs' were laid bare.

The spread of these drugs has been acknowledged as a national problem, and many prisons have been faced with the task of preventing these substances from passing through the gates, and providing help to those who are addicted.

Mr Trent said it was the same for staff at HMP Berwyn, and they are doing everything they can to make those intent on dealing as unwelcome as possible.

He said: "It's the million dollar question and there is no easy answer.

"It's incredibly difficult when you're trying to build a community, when some parts of that community are members of serious organised crime groups.

"These groups make money from the misery caused by selling drugs to others.

"For other parts of this community, those who are addicted to these drugs, it is about providing treatment and support.

"We are recruiting a senior manager and part of their role will be to make supply incredibly difficult, and make it a hostile environment to people who want to supply drugs."

He added: "We try to keep people busy and active to reduce the demand, keep them focused on healthy activities and building a healthy life for when they leave Berwyn.

"We work with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to build a treatment plan for people to build drug free lives in the future, but it is incredibly challenging."

Last December the Leader reported that 130 offences had been reported as having occurred at the prison since it opened, ranging from assaults on staff to possession of drugs and mobile phones.

Mr Trent said those statistics proved "robust" searches were being carried out, with the help of state of the art equipment.

He said: "It is important to use those statistics in context.

"If there have been 100 crimes recorded, that means 100 detections have been made.

"It means staff have been working hard doing night searches, investigating intelligence, finding items such as drugs and mobile phones which are being hidden.

"What it also shows is a great relationship between prison staff, North Wales Police, other agencies and the broader criminal justice system.

"When it comes to serious organised crime we are trying to make HMP Berwyn as hostile an environment as possible."