Justice Secretary Liz Truss has unveiled the government's latest weapon for preventing drones from flying into prisons – "barking dogs".

Truss told the Commons on Tuesday 6 December that HMP Pentonville are now employing patrol dogs "who are barking, which helps deter drones".

"So we're using all kinds of solutions to deal with contraband coming into our prisons," she said.

Her comments were met with laughter on both sides of the House. Fellow Conservative Victoria Prentis asked Truss: "What guidance and training are being given to governors to ensure that that are able to complete the procurement process properly, be it about mental health services or even the recruitment of dogs that bark at drones?"

Truss responded with an attempted quip about Prentis's local prison but this was met with an awkward silence.

The Ministry of Justice has previously said "more must be done" to tackle the issue of drones flying drugs, weapons and other contraband into prisons. It is unclear whether the use of "barking dogs" will become a nationwide policy.

Truss's performance was the latest in what is fast becoming a catalogue of comedy moments. At the 2014 Conservative party conference she made an unforgettable speech in which her unbridled joy for Beijing pork markets was offset by her utter contempt for the fact that Britain imports more cheese than it exports.

Last month she was warned that she must "get a grip" of the backlog of inmates serving time beyond their maximum sentences.