Prisoners’ boozy Christmas plan foiled

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Vienna - Hopes among resourceful inmates of an Austrian prison for a cheerier Christmas have been dashed after 50 litres (13 gallons) of a festive homebrew hooch were discovered by guards.

Prisoners at the Stein prison mixed bread rolls with fruit to create “Punsch”, a popular winter-warmer at Austrian Christmas markets on the outside world, the jail's management said on Tuesday.

“Bread rolls contain yeast. They expand a great deal and speed up the fermentation process,” the prison's deputy director Christian Timm told AFP, saying the moonshine was recovered in several cells.

With prisoners at the jail in the outskirts of the northern city of Krems allowed to buy food and having regular visitors, such incidents were difficult to prevent entirely, he said.

“This is a facility with 800 inmates in more than 400 cells ... and an area of almost 60 000 square metres (650 000 square feet). Unfortunately one or two things can go unnoticed, which is why we do searches,” Timm said.


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