PLUGGING drugs, where criminals swallow or hide drugs inside themselves from police officers while in custody, is on the rise in Wiltshire.

The dangerous trend leads to detainees being watched around the clock by officers, until they go the toilet and release hundreds of pounds worth of drugs.

Police forces can get authorisation from magistrates courts to remand them in custody until the drugs are relinquished and has resulted in several weeks long stand offs between drug dealers and officers.

Only last month, a man was kept in custody in Melksham for 14 days after plugging several hundred pounds worth of drugs.

If plugging has taken place, the detainee is put under constant observation in their cell until they decide to go to the toilet and whatever objects they are hiding, are passed. During this time, they are also regularly medically reviewed.

PC Joe Shanklin, of the Dedicated Crime Team, said: "When we believe that a detainee has concealed drugs internally, and the Magistrate agrees there is enough evidence to suggest this has taken place, an extension to the time they remain in custody will be authorised.

"This kind of tactic has always taken place but we are seeing it more and more. A lot of those who are travelling to smaller counties like Wiltshire from the big cities are travelling down with the drugs already plugged.

"We want to make it clear that we take a very robust approach to Dangerous Drug Networks coming into our county to supply drugs to vulnerable people, and we will pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.

"Some dealers believe that they can escape justice for their actions by concealing drugs inside their bodies; I want to make it very clear to them that this is not an effective tactic and we will utilise legislation in order to ensure that they are made to account for their crimes."

Essex Police set up a dedicated twitter hashtag, #poowatch, after Lamarr Chambers spent at least 29 days in police custody after refusing to go for a number two.