A WOMAN has spoken of her husband’s descent into drug addiction – just weeks after he entered trouble-hit Erlestoke Prison.

The mum-of-four, who asked to remain anonymous, said that prison support to get her husband off cannabis substitute Spice was almost non-existent.

On one occasion an ambulance had to be called to the Wiltshire jail after a Spice hit left the man unconscious. His wife was only told months later.

His addiction became so bad that she was forced to keep the couple’s two children away from the prison for fear of scaring the youngsters.

Last week, an official inspection report linked widespread use of banned “legal high” Spice at HMP Erlestoke to “much of the violence and bullying” at the prison.

The report, by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, said that the drug coupled with a smoking ban had led to a “widespread sense of hopelessness” amongst Erlestoke’s prisoners.

Now the North Swindon woman has spoken of her husband’s shocking experience with drugs at the jail.

Her 38-year-old husband was convicted of burglary by a London court in 2011.

The woman, 52, said: “I really welcomed a prison sentence at the time. No one can get away with that behaviour.”

For four years he was held at prisons in Kent and Surrey.

She said: “In 2015 he’d done so well they told him he’d go to an open prison.”

But she says that he was instead sent to HMP Erlestoke, a category C jail where many of the inmates are serving life or lengthy sentences.

Within weeks he had developed a growing addiction to Spice, a synthetic cannabis that was banned by the Government in 2016.

“When he went there he was clean. Within three weeks of being at Erlestoke he was addicted. It took four years of good work off him in three weeks,” his wife said.

In the two years he was at Erlestoke – from 2015 to earlier this year – he cartwheeled through periods of addiction.

A matter of weeks after being admitted, he prompted a “blue light emergency” following a Spice hit. His wife wasn’t told until two months later.

His wife said: “He’s had to put himself down in the block to get off it many times.

“I’d turn up to see him and he’d not able to lift his head up. I’ve tried to keep it together for him and my children – but I’ve had to explain to my son about drugs.

“We didn’t visit after a while. I was so scared about what would come through the door.”

She alleged that prison staff have done little to help her husband get off the banned substance.

She said: “I’ve written hundreds of letters to the prison. They can’t hear me, they can’t see me. It’s never going to be cleared up. Prisoners are being given the message that it’s okay to take Spice.”

Security measures at the system are so lax that she claims it would be easy to smuggle contraband into the prison.

“I don’t know of another prison that would let me take my diabetes tablets to the room where I saw my husband,” she said. “I had to demand to leave them at the front desk.”

A stall selling fruit and vegetables grown by the prisoners could have offered another place to stash smuggled drugs, she added.

Her husband has now been transferred to another prison and is waiting for a place to come free at a category D jail.

The mum said she wanted to tell her story in the hope that it might help change conditions at the prison. “You’re too late for us, but you might be able to help somebody else,” she told the Adver.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “We have been clear that the level of drugs in our prisons is too high and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has described NPS as a game changer for prison safety. That’s why we’re taking unprecedented action to tackle this.

“HMP Erlestoke has already taken a number of steps to improve safety and tackle the flow of illegal contraband into the prison, including the recruitment of additional staff and increased levels of testing in order to better detect and seize drugs. The prison is also reviewing its visits scheme, with the aim of improving access for visitors.

“Across the estate, we have also trained over 300 specialist drug dogs and made it a criminal offence to possess psychoactive substances in prison. And to improve safety in prisons and step up our efforts to seize contraband, we are boosting the number of prison officers by 2,500.”