Foreign criminals' Nintendo Wiis and 5-a-side
By Graham Tibbetts
Last Updated: 1:56am GMT 05/02/2008
Foreign criminals are being given Nintendo Wiis and a plasma television to while away the time before their deportation, it has been claimed.
The detainees are being held at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in Berkshire after serving time for offences including rape and murder.
But as they wait to be sent back to their homeland they enjoy computer games, five-aside football with cash prizes and televisions in every cell.
They can also buy goods at a store inside the facility and have them delivered to their cells by staff. A source at the centre claimed: “There are plasma TVs in some cells and 48in ones in the communal areas.
“Some detainees have Nintendo Wiis. If the consoles go wrong staff are sent to the nearest Argos to pick up a replacement.
“The music room has guitars and a drum kit. And there are 5 prizes for the winners of five-a-side tournaments.”
The insider said 200 criminals had signed a letter demanding an improved satellite television service for the Africa Cup of Nations, which was granted within hours.
“Many law-abiding people wouldnt be able to afford the same perks,” the source told the Sun.
Mark Wallace, of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “Its a disgrace. Taxpayers are funding a lavish lifestyle for people who should not even be in this country.”
Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: “Detention centres should be civilised and humane, but not luxurious.”
The centre was opened by Tony Blair in 2004 and can hold 383 inmates.
Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, said: “We wont hesitate to detain people for brief periods of time before they fly home. I have visited lots of detention centres; luxurious they are not. We are always under pressure from HM Government inspectors to provide improved constructive activities.”
A Home Office spokesman said there were only small televisions in each cell and one plasma screen in the communal area.