The PSNI has begun a criminal investigation after the Northern Ireland Prisoner Ombudsman said a prison officer planted a note in the cell of a dissident republican suspect.

The Prison Service of Northern Ireland says a member of staff has been suspended following the report by the ombudsman.

In a statement, the Prison Service said the prison officer was suspended in accordance with its code of discipline.

‘We have launched a disciplinary investigation into this matter which has been adjourned pending the outcome of the police inquiry.’

The note is believed to have contained personal details about the then Governor of Maghaberry Prison, Steve Rodford.

Mr Rodford resigned in December 2009 because of fears he faced a security threat.

Prisoner Ombudsman Pauline McCabe found that on the balance of probabilities, a member of prison staff planted the note in the cell of Brendan McConville, who is charged with the murder of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon two years ago.

Mr McConville’s lawyer wrote to the Ombudsman alleging that his client had been set up by prison staff opposed to planned reforms within the prison.