Mice chew their way into NSW prison, causing over 600 inhabitants to flee

The notorious NSW mouse plague has hit a new peak this week after extensive damage was caused to the Wellington Correctional Centre.

More than 600 prisoners and staff will be relocated from the western NSW prison following damages from the mouse plague, including at least 420 inmates and 200 staff.

Meanwhile, pest control services have flocked to the prison to remove the dead mice from the walls. Authorities say it has sent a potent stench into the air. Gross!

mouse plague
Image: ABC News

The cleanup and planned relocation comes after mice caused extensive damage to wiring and ceiling panels throughout the facility. Surely mice can tell the difference between chimneys and cheese!

The relocation will be a pretty huge deal, but it’s one that Corrective Services NSW Commissioner, Peter Severin, feels is essential.

Severn explained that the relocation was needed to ensure that the Wellington Correctional Centre was “thoroughly cleansed” and that the damaged infrastructure could be properly repaired.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and inmates is our number one priority,” he explained. “So it’s important for us to act now to carry out the vital remediation work”.

Most staff will be redeployed to correctional centres in the state’s western region, while a skeleton crew will remain at Wellington to oversee and assist with remediation work.

Part of this work will include investigations into how the correctional centre can be made mouse-proof in the event of future plagues.

Meanwhile, 420 male and female inmates will be transferred to other prisons within the next 10 days, with some returning to the original location during the day to work.

So far, Severin is pretty happy, having thanked the team at Wellington for their: “ongoing commitment to their work during this challenging time.”

He went on to praise the staff at Wellington, who he feels “have done an incredibly good job in managing the effects of the mice plague,” while still acknowledging the urgency of the forthcoming relocation.

Unfortunately, mice plagues aren’t all too uncommon in Australia. According to the Washington Post, they occur every decade or so, “wreaking havoc across communities and destroying the crops and stock of farmers who are worried about what the future holds for their livelihoods”.