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Prison van 'couldn't reach cells'

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A firm which won a multi-million pound contract from the Ministry of Justice to transport prisoners to courts has discovered that its vans cannot be driven into a court entrance to the holding cells.

GEOAmey PECS Ltd has been signed up to provide prison escort and custody services across three regions of the UK in an agreement worth up to £900 million over a period up to ten years.

But when a GEOAmey van arrived at Bristol Crown Court, it was discovered that the vehicle was too low to negotiate a ramp to the holding cells.

As a result, a prisoner had to be walked into the building from the street to attend court.

The incident was widely reported in the local media and may influence the cost of van insurance deals.

"We have a number of vehicles designed to access the Bristol Crown Court building. However, on exceptionally busy days when those vehicles are fully utilised and particularly when prisoners are being brought from outside the area, a standard custody vehicle, as used in other locations, may not be able to negotiate the restricted access to the building," a GEOAmey spokesman said.

© Press Association 2011