Coronavirus outbreaks at prisons across the North West are continuing to hit inmates and delay court cases.

Three prisons across Greater Manchester are currently dealing with outbreaks of the virus.

The M.E.N previously reported how cases had been detected at HMP Hindley, Strangeways and HMP Forest Bank.

The outbreaks have resulted in hearings being delayed at Manchester Crown Court as defendants could not be produced from prison.

Two gang members have become the latest to have court appearances delayed due to the outbreak at Forest Bank, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The men were due to be sentenced this week for their role in a drugs gang that supplied cocaine on the streets of Kirkby in Merseyside.

The ringleaders of the gang - brothers Terence and Anthony Nash - were jailed for a combined total of 39 and a half years.

Terence, 35, of James Holt Avenue, was handed a 24-year sentence for conspiracy to supply cocaine and a series of firearms offences after guns and grenades were found in the loft of a safe house.

A Covid outbreak at HMP Forest Bank has result in delays to court cases

Anthony, 36 and of Bracknell Close, was sentenced to 15-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to possess criminal property.

The pair, along with two associates, were presented at Manchester Crown Court on Monday and then via video link on Tuesday.

But the two further gang members were not present with the court hearing they were self-isolating as a result of coronavirus.

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Their cases were put back until the middle of April as a result.

A Prison Service spokesman confirmed that cases had been detected at both Forest Bank and Strangeways in Manchester.

They said: "Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.

"We have taken precautionary measures at Hindley, in line with public health guidance, and will continue to closely monitor the situation."

The Ministry of Justice does not reveal the numbers of cases at each prison, but the M.E.N understands there are also several dozen cases at Hindley, in Wigan.

It is not clear how many of those affected are staff or how many are prisoners.

Five wings at Forest Bank in Agecroft are also currently in lockdown due to an outbreak.