Kingpins turn Geekpins in British jails

Beware! The user known as big_boss37 discussing X-men Origins: Wolverine on PlayStation Home with head_shot88 might actually be a jailed crime lord giving coded orders to his minions.

At least that’s what Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) believes is happening right now, reports The Times newspaper.

Presenting the agency’s annual report, Director General Bill Hughes claimed bosses of the organised crime world run their multimillion pound empires from behind bars by using internet games.

He said: “The Prison Service is concerned that prisoners are using interactive games to talk to people outside the prison. Communication is the name of the game and criminals are looking to exploit new technologies. Prisoners have rights and they have access to the internet.”

However, the British Prison Service didn’t back the allegations by SOCA and was quick to respond sharply.

“Prisoners have never been allowed access to wireless enabled technology such as that used in some games consoles. Nor would they ever be allowed access to such technology,” a spokesman for the service said.

He added: “A decision was taken some years ago that the then-current generation of games consoles should be barred because the capability to send or receive radio signals is an integral part of the equipment. Future games consoles with this ability will be banned. This ban applies to Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo DS.”

SOCA didn’t reveal the source of intelligence which gave them their information, but are insisting on it being reliable.

However, both sides are not trying to tone down the row by issuing statements like “SOCA and the Prison Service work closely together to prevent criminals continuing their activities in prison.”

The report by SOCA was released on its third anniversary. It said that it is monitoring 5,000 crime bosses in Britain and abroad, many of whom were not on their radar before. The agency has been criticized in the past for not doing enough to justify its £400 million budget. However Prime Minister Gordon Brown assured on Tuesday that the agency “is here to stay.”