Inmates have effectively taken control at a violent and vermin-infested prison, a watchdog has warned. Inspectors, who said HMP Bedford prisoners regularly ignored rules, found the smell of drugs "pervading" some wings and an infestation of rats.
The chief inspector of prisons has triggered an "urgent notification" process at the prison. Prisons minister Rory Stewart said it was "abundantly clear that further action is needed".
Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, has sent a letter to Justice Secretary David Gauke, which means the government has to publish a response and plan of action for the jail within 28 days.
In May the publicly-run prison was placed in special measures by the government because of safety concerns. It is the fourth jail to be subject to the "urgent notification" process after Nottingham, Exeter and Birmingham.