X-RAY machines will be installed at Winchester prison as it is branded one of the “most challenging prisons”.

The city’s jail will be among 16 across the country to receive tough new security measures – a major part of the Government’s crackdown on crime behind bars.

The “cutting edge” scanners developed specifically for the Prison Service, will produce instant images from inside the human body and can reveal internally concealed contraband, including drugs, mobile phones and weapons.

The images produced by the scanner are expected to provide a level of detail inside the body that has not been seen before in the Prison Service.

Prisons with high volumes of remand prisoners, which the Ministry of Justice said pose the “greatest risk of smuggling”, will receive the new technology.

Installation will begin in the spring with all scanners anticipated to be in place by the summer.

Around £28 million, out of a £2.75 billion fund to transform the prison estate, will be used to pay for all the scanners which are eventually hoped to be installed in the majority of closed adult male jails.

Earlier this month an inspection report found violence had "markedly increased" at HMP Winchester, which has been the subject of a prison documentary, and more than half of the prisoners said it was easy to get drugs into the building.

Prisons and Probation Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “New technology is a vital part of our efforts to stop those determined to wreak havoc in our jails. These scanners will help to stem the flow of contraband into jails and allow officers to focus on rehabilitation.

“We’re investing £2.75 billion to transform our prisons, creating 10,000 additional modern places, and stepping up security to cut crime and better protect the public.”

South Central Prison Group director, Andy Lattimore said: “This technology will be key to reducing the significant harm caused by drugs, mobile phones and other illicit items in prisons. I welcome this announcement which will enable this work to be taken forward to make our jails safer.

“Safe prisons give us a better chance to rehabilitate offenders and reduce the risks of reoffending.”