NEWPORT, Isle of Wight, England -- About 50 rioting prisoners wielding wooden staves, metal bars and broken glass wrecked an entire cell block of a top security prison in a three-hour riot Friday.
Seven prisoners and one warder were slightly injured as specially trained squads of prison officers tackled the rioting mob -- including Irish Republican army convicts and 'lifers' -- at Albany prison, on the Isle of Wight, 2 miles off the coast of southern England, a prison spokesman said.
Nine prisoners were still protesting on a cell block roof Friday night.
Albany prison is a modern jail housing some 280 top security prisoners such as IRA bombers and those serving life sentences, but there was no danger of a mass breakout, a prison spokesman said.
It was not clear precisely how many prisoners were involved in the trouble but one prison source estimated there were at least 40 to 50 troublemakers.
The disturbance started around 11 a.m. during the exercise period when most prisoners were out of their cells, a prison service spokesman said.
A group went on the rampage in 'B' block, smashing furniture, breaking windows, ripping out doors a spokesman said. The trouble then spread to 'C block where another riot flared.
The governor immediately called for reinforcements and five buses of prison and police reinforcements rushed in to secure the perimeter and quell the disturbance.
Specially trained prison officers from the MUFTI Squad -- Minimum Use of Force Tactical Intervention Squad -- went into 'B' block and managed to quell the trouble there.
But by this time the modern concrete cell block was completely wrecked the floor littered with splintered wooden furniture, broken glass and rubbish and declared uninhabitable, the prison spokesman said.
The MUFTI Squad then moved in on C block and subdued a lesser disturbance there. The trouble was over by 2:15 p.m. but nine priosners who climbed onto the roof staged a sit-down protest and were still there at nightfall, the spokesman said.
Disciplinary procedures would begin once all the prisoners had surrendered the official said.
It was unclear whether the disturbance was spontaneous or an organized protest. It was the most serious of three disturbances at Albany this year and coincided with the appointment of a new prison governor who only started his new job on Monday, the prison spokesman said.