SPICE, smuggled phones and spiking other inmates “for a laugh” is all part of the daily routine for officers at one of the region’s prisons according to a new prison documentary.

Life at Durham Prison was laid bare in the first episode of a three part series, which aired on Channel Four last night.

In the hour-long episode, viewers were introduced to inmates Michael Surtees, a drug addict with an incredible ability to store contraband in his bodily orifices, Newcastle criminal Scott Storey, whose cell was raided to uncover a stash of heroin worth around £2,000 and confessed-cocaine dealer Tony Trott, made to wear a special prison uniform because he is suspected of being behind drones delivering packages to the prison.

On the other side is residential governor Chris Hounslow, prison officer John Matthews, and nurse Paul Hazel, who recounts days when up to nine prisoners are made comatose by spice, the drug running rampant in prisons across the country.

On spice, the documentary paints a gloomy picture.

One inmate, Stephen is spiked “for a laugh”, but he doesn’t mind. “It’s a free buzz,” he says. “It’s like being in a coma. It’s a black out.”

When asked if that’s a good thing, he replies: “It is for me.”

Mr Matthews describes the incident as “pathetic”.

“It’s s*** like that we have to deal with all the time on a regular basis. We have to get a grip on it, if it’s becoming a game because some one will end up dead.”

Other drugs are rife at the prison. The mobile phones which make it possible to do deals are also common.

Full of bravado, Michael Surtees, who says he has three phones stashed in his person, can make more money in a day inside prison than he can outside, he claims.

Lewis McMahon claims to take the drugs of other inmates when they arrive.

“When I come to prison, I smash it”, he says. “It’s a dog eat dog world.”

At the end of the episode, Mr Hounslow says; “We bring drug addicts into prison on really short sentences which makes it difficult, if not impossible to intervene with any kind of treatment.

"We then wonder why we can’t reduce re-offending.

“It’s a constant battle and- I hate to say it – a battle that we’re losing.”