A drone carrying a package believed to be stuffed with drugs and other contraband items was discovered trapped in perimeter netting at Bedford Prison.
Police have launched an investigation following the failed attempt - believed to be the first of its kind - to infiltrate the prison with the remote controlled aircraft.
The device and the contents of the package, which were discovered by prison officers on Friday, March 6, are being examined.
Local reports say that a nearby shop worker had seen two men in the area with a drone and had wondered what they were doing.
A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police could not confirm what the package contained - there has been speculation that along with drugs, a knife and mobile phone were also stashed inside - but confirm it was ‘contraband items’.
She said no-one has yet been arrested but the police investigation is ongoing.
A prison service spokesman said: “A package was quickly intercepted by vigilant staff at HMP Bedford.
“Any prisoner who is caught for or suspected of smuggling prohibited items will face tough consequences, which could include prosecution and a further sentence, closed visits, up to 42 days added to their time in prison or confinement to their cell for up to 21 days with no association time.”
The spokesman was unable to comment on whether security at all prisons will now be reviewed following the attack.
“We do not comment on security policy around prisons,” he said.
A £6 million refurbishment is due to get underway in May at the closed category B men’s prison, which will include the replacement of window bars to make them safer and more secure.
The use of drones are largely unregulated, which means anyone can purchase one.
Chairman of Bedford flying club Ivel Mac Richard Pulman said: “These things can carry large weights if they are built properly.
“Anyone can buy any remote controlled play or drone and go and fly where they like.
“I think everybody should be concerned about it, especially when there is nobody controlling it.
“With these drones, because they are electric, you won’t hear it and you won’t see it until it is on top of you.”
A Beds Police spokesman said the force is working closely with the prison and is urging anyone with information to call police on 101, text 07786 200011, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
For guidelines on the safe use of drones click here