With their high walls, the chances of losing a football in prison may seem remote.

But new figures have revealed that inmates being held at Her Majesty's pleasure are receiving hundreds of footballs for kick-abouts to help pass the time.

A total of 584 footballs have been bought for prisoners in the 17 months since January last year, according to figures provided by the Scottish Prison Service. Inverness prisoners are seemingly the most football crazy, with 145 balls bought, allowing them to practise keepie-uppie and other skills.

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Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow received 90, and Low Moss in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, was sent 81. Perth received 60 balls and there was high demand among young offenders at Polmont in Stirlingshire, where 54 footballs were delivered. Saughton Prison in Edinburgh took 20 balls.

However, the football bug has yet to catch on at Scotland's only all-women prison, with Cornton Vale, near Stirling, along with Dumfries, the only two parts of the prison estate not to order footballs during the period. The cost of each ball is around £6.