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Guinea pigs Ronnie and Reggie Kray's lavish prison lifestyle at taxpayers' expense

By The Citizen  |  Posted: September 09, 2013

By Mike Wilkinson

  • Ronnie and Reggie Kray

  • A guinea pig

Comments (13)

PRISON guinea pig Reggie Kray was treated to five-star treatment right up to his final hours, when he was rushed to a vets in an escort car.

Reggie, along with his brother Ronnie, was a pet at HMP Eastwood Park, at Wotton-under-Edge, and had helped rehabilitate some of its 360 women criminals.

But after Reggie fell ill on Wednesday at 2.30pm, he was taken to the vet in a prison escort vehicle at taxpayers' expense and accompanied by a prison officer.

The animal, which had suffered an ear infection, returned by 5pm but died two hours later.

A prison nurse claimed bosses even ordered the services of two vets to come to the prison and certify the guinea pig's death at a cost of around £200. That has since been waived by the vets.

The nurse, from Gloucester, who does not want to be named, said: "I think it is such a joke that a guinea pig was taken to the vets by prison service car. It took an officer off duty and we are already short staffed. Then later that day a member of staff logged that there was a death in custody. But unbelievably it was the guinea pig.

"Two vets arrived at 7.45pm to confirm that the guinea pig was dead. In my opinion, this is such a scandalous waste of public funds.

"These guinea pigs have been living it up for sometime. They are even on the roll check along with inmates meaning they get checked on four times a day for their welfare."

An inspection report into one unit at the prison in November 2012 said: "Cells were grubby and the unit had an institutional feel. Hygiene in the kitchen was also poor and the food unappetising."

Another report in April that year added: "Some shared cells were very small. Toilets were unscreened and women had to eat some meals sitting on the bunks next to the unscreened toilet."

The guinea pigs are named after the infamous 1950s and 1960s gangsters, the Kray twins.

The Ministry of Justice admitted a prison vehicle had been used with one officer accompanying Reggie to the vets.

The spokesman added that the bill for calling out the vets had been waived but said that a recent vets bill, understood to be for the initial consultation, had come to £31.

He added that the pets were checked each day but did not have a barcode as prisoners do.

Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "At a time when budgets are so tight, taxpayers will be astounded at the amount of money and staff time that was taken up dealing with this sick guinea pig."

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13 comments

  • bonzaharris1  |  September 09 2013, 8:34PM

    lwspj, If what you say is true, then perhaps The Citizen should be re-named Jackanory !!

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  • lwspj  |  September 09 2013, 8:27PM

    As someone who frequently visits Eastwood Park in a voluntary capacity, I can say that this story is utter nonsense. One vet, who I believe was known to a member of staff, agreed to call at the prison without charge as they had to pass it on their way home. By this time the guinea pig - who never left the prison - was already dead. The £31 referred to was for medicine The 'unnamed prison nurse from Gloucester' is either a figment of Mike Wilkinson's vivid imagination or (more likely) a lying member of staff with a grudge. There are nurses at Eastwood Park but it is highly unlikely that any of them would know there was a guinea pig which THE PRISONERS called Reggie Kray However, even if the story had been entirely true, it is gratifying to see that people leaving comments are hostile to the views of 'the prison nurse' that it is wrong to give a sick animal the best possible medical care As for the Taxpayers Alliance, their knee-jerk reaction tells you all you need to know about this silly and pointless pressure group The Mail, which owns the Citizen, has picked up the story and their readers are almost unanimously of the same view as those who have expressed comments on this site So finally, a message to Mike Wilkinson: if you want to be a SERIOUS journalist, don't believe everything you hear and CHECK YOUR SOURCES

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  • gallopingbear  |  September 09 2013, 10:40AM

    @Windhover :D love it. @gilly1945 of course an imaginary drinking sesh in which Princes William and Harry drank thousands of pounds worth of alcohol and didnt die of drowning/ liver failure/ alcohol poisoning, is tooootally relevant to a story about two guinea pigs being used to rehabilitate women. And to your question-where did their money come from, they didnt earn it? Maybe you should google what they ACTUALLY do before making yourself look silly in a public forum. They are of course both employed full time as members of the armed forces, Harry having served in Afghanistan many times (see THE NEWS-in any format) and risen through ranks to be on a salary of around £45k. William having served in the RAF search and rescue until recently. So whilst you are tapping away in lala land they are in fact working very hard to ensure your freedom to be ignorant is preserved, putting themselves in danger and exceeding what is expected of any Royal. When theyre not at their full time jobs being shot at and protecting our nation? Theyre up at the crack of dawn to do their royal duties, having to be bright, breezy and perfect at every moment. They also have trust funds which were left by the mother who died when they were children.... Shame on you. And respect to the guinea pigs.

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  • tishwash  |  September 08 2013, 2:35PM

    An inspection report into one unit at the prison in November 2012 said: "Cells were grubby and the unit had an institutional feel. Hygiene in the kitchen was also poor and the food unappetising." Another report in April that year added: "Some shared cells were very small. Toilets were unscreened and women had to eat some meals sitting on the bunks next to the unscreened toilet." What a shame, it's called Prison! deal with it.

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  • windhover  |  September 08 2013, 12:01AM

    Its Ronnie we should be feeling sorry for. Bereft of his life partner (not in crime) he now faces a media storm over his alleged partiality to dandelion leaves and other evidence of wanton excess. Its enough to drive any thinking guinea pig to despair. Let's hope Eastwood Park's suicide watch is up to the job...

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  • kerimar  |  September 07 2013, 11:44PM

    "Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "At a time when budgets are so tight, taxpayers will be astounded at the amount of money and staff time that was taken up dealing with this sick guinea pig." Would he rather we just flushed it down the toilet

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  • bonzaharris1  |  September 07 2013, 10:57PM

    It also makes you wonder what sort of person this nurse is. If they think it is acceptable for a living creature, no matter how small or insignificant they feel it is to suffer untreated pain, makes you wonder what they feel about "caring" for the prisoners they have to treat. One thing is for sure, I wouldn't want them anywhere near me or my family.

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  • kerimar  |  September 07 2013, 10:38PM

    "These guinea pigs have been living it up for sometime. They are even on the roll check along with inmates meaning they get checked on four times a day for their welfare" Is this a wind up or what? This must have been written by a non pet owning person. Do you think they should be on bread and water? Of course they are going to take it to the vet. It's what you do with sick animals!

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  • kerimar  |  September 07 2013, 10:32PM

    "These guinea pigs have been living it up for sometime. They are even on the roll check along with inmates meaning they get checked on four times a day for their welfare" Is this a wind up or what? This must have been written by a non pet owning person. Do you think they should be on bread and water? Of course they are going to take it to the vet. It's what you do with sick animals!

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  • eyeopener  |  September 07 2013, 10:13PM

    This seems to be an article written with prospective web hits in mind. The article says "Reggie, along with his brother Ronnie, was a pet at HMP Eastwood Park, at Wotton-under-Edge, and had helped rehabilitate some of its 360 women criminals." Are there any other rehabilitation strategies that cost as little as this? As Bonzaharris1 said "To not take a sick animal to a vet is to cause unnecessary suffering, if you allow pets into a prison for whatever reason you have a duty of care to it same as any other pet owner." To have acted differently would have breached the Animal Welfare Act. Where is the evidence of a lavish life style that the article proclaims? This article is on a par with the TIG article that proclaimed "Killer Greyhound roams Gloucestershire" based on two greyhounds with no evidence that they were the same killing two cats in a space of two weeks! What next a series of articles about a guinea pig called Helen and her extravagantly large cage?

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