Australian prison inmates attempt escape using utensils to chip away mortar

Inmates have been caught trying to escape from one of Victoria's maximum-security prisons.

Authorities thwarted the attempt on Saturday after uncovering "a prisoner's plan to escape from the privately operated Port Philip", the justice department said today.

"Prison officers uncovered the plan and stringent security measures were immediately put in place Saturday afternoon to secure the facility," a spokesperson said.

Three men had used utensils to remove mortar between bricks, replacing it with tissues to hide their tracks, the Herald Sun reports.

It is also reported a bolt from a rifle was found.

The plan reportedly involved inmates digging their way out before scaling the fence.

Corrections Victoria will assist police with the ongoing investigation in the foiled escape.

News of the thwarted escape comes as the state government announces the opening of the AUS $21 million (NZD $22.6m) detention unit at Barwon Prison on Monday.

The 10-bed Piper Detention Unit will house Victoria's most dangerous offenders after serving their sentences and provide education and vocational training for those inside.

"This is about helping protect Victorians from the most serious sex and violent offenders who pose an unacceptable risk of reoffending - even after they have completed their sentence," Corrections Minister Ben Carroll said.

Prison. (File photo) Source: