Three arrested after breaking into old Guelph jail

It's not often police arrest people for going to jail, but that happened Friday in Guelph, Ont.

Three people have been charged with break-and-enter related offences after they were caught inside a decommissioned correctional facility in that city's east end. 

Police say the trio were spotted on security video equipment inside the former Guelph Correctional Centre on York Road. An extensive search of the building was necessary to locate the three people, police said.

A 24-year-old man, a 25-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman have been charged with break and enter.

The 25-year-old man was also charged with breach of probation.

Police did not say why the three people were in the former reformatory. 

Building history

The facility was in operation as a correctional institution from 1911 until 2001. During much of that time, it served as a prison farm to teach inmates employment skills needed to reenter the workforce.

It also served as a convalescent hospital for more than 900 veterans between 1917 and 1919.

Some say the building is haunted. It is often an attraction for ghost story enthusiasts. Ghost Hunters of Guelph have a post about a psychic named Wanda Hewer experiencing several encounters with spirits while filming Ghost Trackers at the site.

The building has also been used for films, including hospital scenes in the 2008 movie Blindness.

The derelict 263 acres of land around the former correctional facility are often used for hiking and fishing, although no trails or venues are maintained for recreation. The province owns the property and is planning to sell it once it is remediated and ready for sale. 

A Guelph group called Yorklands Green Hub wants to create a self-sustaining education, demonstration and research hub on the grounds.