EASTERN European inmates in British jails are costing taxpayers just under £73million a year, official figures show.
Romanian and Polish prisoners have swollen their ranks by 60 per cent since 2010, bringing the total to 2,430 from 10 countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain.
Three years ago there were just 1,490 inmates from those nations in our jails, where it costs £30,000 to hold a prisoner each year.
The Ministry of Justice figures reveal Poles now form the biggest foreign contingent in British jails, with Romanians at Number five on the list, up from 400 in 2010 to 532.
In women’s jails, with 46 prisoners, they are the second biggest group, behind Nigerians on 47.
Romanians are most frequently jailed for theft, pick-pocketing and shoplifting, as well as burglary, robbery, fraud and sex offences.
Ukip Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall said: “It was madness that in 2004 we opened our doors to much of Eastern Europe.
Open borders have meant that the British Government can no longer ensure that those who enter our country are here to contribute to our country and, indeed, may be here to carry out criminal acts
Paul Nuttal, Ukip deputy leader
“Open borders have meant that the British Government can no longer ensure that those who enter our country are here to contribute to our country and, indeed, may be here to carry out criminal acts.”
Eastern European prisoner numbers, including those on remand awaiting trial, have risen steadily from 2004, when eight nations from the East were allowed into the EU, giving them freeaccess to the UK.
Police may be concerned about the sharp rise in Romanians in jail here despite the fact that EU immigration restrictions will not be lifted for another 32 days.
Mr Nuttall said: “We know that the French authorities in Paris are having to deal with frequent crime from some Roma and the authorities in London have failed to stem the tide of beggars from Romania, even paying for their flights home only for them to return days later.
“It is simply crackers for the British Government to open the door to everyone from these countries from January 1.” Reports from Romania suggest some people are already planning a life of crime here. Pickpocket Ioan Mailat, 40, said he hopes to make £4,000 a month here.
He said: “I would expect to burgle five houses a week and pickpocket 10 people a day. I am not scared of getting caught. Jails in Britain are better than my home.”
Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said: “More foreign prisoners must serve their sentences in their own countries and last year more than 3,600 of them were sent home.” Romania and Poland have agreed to prisoner transfers.
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