While companies are using drones as a novel delivery system, inmates have high-jacked the concept to sneak contraband into prisons.

Quebec guards are becoming increasingly concerned.

“People used to throw tennis balls, now people are using drones to deliver the goods,” Montreal police SPVM inspector Andre Durocher told CTV Montreal.

In Quebec the number of drone sightings has risen by more than 15 per cent in the last year. According to the correctional officers union 90 drones were spotted flying near a jail in Quebec in 2016 compared to only 15 in 2015.

More than half of those were near Bordeaux Jail, possibly due to the convenient field near the jail that could be used as an airstrip for drones.

“I see strangers parked here,” one resident who lives near the jail told CTV Montreal. “They go, back in, come out, they stay for hours. […] It’s weird.”

Last year police seized two drones close to the jail before their deliveries were completed.

But the SAPSCQ-CSN union believes that the drones that are caught are just a small fraction of the total number successfully making deliveries to inmates.

Guards have seized cell phones, sim cards, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs from the drones.

They are now asking officials to start implementing ways to block the drones, such as disrupting radio frequencies, installing tracking devices like radar or installing nets and grilled rooftops to stop anything from coming into the yards.

The public security ministry promises an action plan focused on physical barriers -- which will also help prevent the embarrassing helicopter escapes.

In the meantime the union is asking people who live near jails and prisons to call 9-1-1 if they spot anyone flying drones near the buildings.

With a report from CTV Montreal’s Annie DeMelt