WILTSHIRE councillor Richard Gamble has revealed that he was at Erlestoke Prison on the day last month when fresh violence broke out and five officers were injured.

Mr Gamble, who represents the village near Devizes on Wiltshire Council, said: "I was due to have a meeting inside the prison with someone from the Ministry of Justice but he advised we were better to do it outside because of the trouble. I was told there was a lot of blood."

He has tried to speak to governor Tim Knight but was told he was on paternity leave and his deputy was on sick leave.

The prison has repeatedly hit national headlines in recent months over fears about safety and an over reliance on young and inexperienced staff.

Keith Conway, who retired from the prison in 2016, has now spoken out about the need for discipline to be restored. He said in an interview with the BBC: "I was frightened, you didn't know what you were walking into. Staff were getting injured and their mental health was going," he said.

"I fear for those people who are still there and I take my hat off to them for what they are doing. The government needs to start getting discipline back into prisons."

He hit out about the violence in the prison just weeks after the partner of an inmate told the Gazette that she feared for the safety of her boyfriend and the amount of drugs that were freely available.

The latest unrest on the day Mr Gamble visited the prison came just days after a new report highlighted the same problems. It also said use of the drug spice was a blight leading to frequent life-threatening emergencies.

The report said that a lack of experienced staff was a major concern and contributed to violence at the Category C prison. In June last year around 130 prisoners to transferred to other jail after a riot.

Mark Fairhurst from the Prison Officers Association added: "We're not prepared to put up with this violence any more. Things have got to change."

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said staff recruitment and drug testing had increased to improve conditions.

In a statment the ministry said: "We know there are a number of long-standing challenges, which is why we've taken decisive action,"

Mr Gamble said: "It is a concern and there are incidents of people trying to get drugs into the prison by throwing things over the wall but on the whole the prison is not a bad neighbour."