Volunteers are wanted for a challenging role behind bars at HMP Littlehey.

The Perry prison is home to more than 1,200 prisoners, the vast majority of whom are sex offenders.

An Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), made up of voluntary members who ensure prisoners are treated decently and humanely, operates in every prison in England and Wales.

The Littlehey IMB is appealing for new recruits to take part in monitoring visits, usually the equivalent of about three days a month.

The inspections can take place at any time of day or night and areas covered include the supervision and discipline of the prisoners, the standard of the accommodation and food, healthcare provision, and the range and adequacy of programmes preparing prisoners for release.

The IMB team also deals with complaints and concerns of prisoners and staff.

Board development officer Helen Boothman said: "In effect, the board is the eyes and ears of the Secretary of State for Justice and the community.

"This is a unique opportunity to have an insight behind locked doors not open to the public.

"It can be a challenging as well as rewarding role."

Mrs Boothman said the qualities required included good listening skills, being open-minded and common sense, as well as being energetic, diplomatic and perceptive.

Anyone interested needs to be at least 18 and live within 30 miles of the prison.

INFORMATION: For more details, call Mrs Boothman on 01480 466588 or visit www.imb.gov.uk.