WREXHAM'S prison has had problems finding and keeping officers because the job isn't "attractive enough," a union official has said.

Terry McCarthy, Prison Officers Association rep for HMP Berwyn, said the jail has experienced recruitment difficulties since opening almost four years ago.

He said the employment package for officers is not "attractive" and leads prospective applicants to look elsewhere - as well as serving officers to "jump ship."

And with fewer staff to run the prison comes an increased likelihood of assaults, he explained.

Mr McCarthy said: "Berwyn's biggest problem is the failure to recruit staff.

"The package isn't attractive enough and the wages aren't good enough compared to other jobs.

"So people will choose to work in places they hopefully won't be assaulted and won't have to work shifts over Christmas and weekends."

Mr McCarthy said another concern is the level of experience amongst the prison's staff - with young and inexperienced officers looking after large numbers of inmates who have more experience of the prison environment.

He added: "Prisoners identify weakness and make the most out of that.

"Couple that with inexperienced officers and there's only going to be one winner.

"I will say that the new governor, Nick Leader, is making extremely good changes at HMP Berwyn and he has the prison's best interest at heart.

"He has come in, looked around and put measures in place to bring Berwyn into line with the prison estate."

A prison service spokesperson said: “We have enough staff to run a safe regime, as demonstrated by a fall in assaults in the last year, and are recruiting even more prison officers.”