Irish inmates trade hostage for Mars bar after 5-hour prison standoff

Authorities may have saved a life with a Mars bar at a prison in Ireland, where they used the snack to defuse a tense hostage situation involving two aggressive and seemingly hangry inmates.

The ordeal played out over five hours at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, Ireland, on the afternoon of Feb. 20, the Irish Post reports. The facility is a medium-security prison with a maximum capacity of 870 inmates.


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Two inmates grabbed another prisoner and threatened to cut off his ears with a shiv if they didn’t get “tobacco, Swiss rolls and Mars bars,” a spokesperson for the Prison Officers’ Association told the Irish Independent.

Guards surrounded the cell and a hostage negotiator was called in to hash out the prisoners’ demands.

“Prisoner demands were unclear, apart from ‘drugs’ and ‘no more sleeping on mattresses,'” the spokesperson added.

A fourth prisoner was present for the standoff but he was not part of the situation, according to reports.

The hostage negotiator slowly chipped away at their demands, whittling them down from multiple snacks and cigarettes to a single Mars bar.


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One prisoner ultimately agreed to trade his shiv for the chocolate bar, leaving the hostage-takers vulnerable to the guards.

“Staff forced entry into the cell and removed all four prisoners, meeting considerable resistance from at least two,” the Prison Officers’ Association spokesperson said.

The Irish Prison Service says the incident was “successfully resolved” with no injuries to staff and “minor injuries” to the prisoners.

The incident is under investigation.

It’s unclear whether the prisoners shared their Mars bar behind bars.

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