An investigation was underway today after a BB gun and a live bullet were discovered in a workshop at Highpoint Prison.
The pistol and 303 calibre bullet were found among the contents of a clothing bank the prisoners in the category C jail in Stradishall were sorting.
The arms were found by a prison officer and an inmate who handed the gun and bullet in, preventing any security risk.
Textile recycling company LMB transport the contents of textile banks to Highpoint for the prisoners to sort through.
It has been working with the prison service for 15 years and handles 200 tonnes of clothes a week.
The clothes sorted by inmates are either sent to the developing world or, if they are of poor material, recycled into cloth wipes or used as insulation in cars.
LMB’s manager Ross Barry said: “Two trusted inmates and two officers, along with CCTV, go through the mixed material before the rest of the inmates sort through it.
“If they find something that is deemed a security risk in a prison - for example, a phone - that comes out at the first sort.”
The BB gun and bullet were found by the inmates and officers during this first search.
Mr Barry, 37, said that it was a ‘big shame’ the potentially dangerous items were discovered.
He said that even though the security procedure was followed and the gun and bullet did not pose a risk to anyone, the incident had ceased LMB’s operations in the prison for the time being.
Mr Barry said although this was the ‘first time a kid’s gun has been found’ in the prison, the story had been ‘sensationalised a little bit’ as there was no security risk.
He said: “We’ve had to stop the programme. I honestly don’t know when we’ll be able to start it up again.”
A spokesperson for HM Prison Service said: “A pellet gun was discovered in a supervised sorting area outside HMP Highpoint. It was quickly removed and there was no risk to the security of the prison. An investigation is underway.”