A fatal accident inquiry has heard it was common for people held in Dundee’s custody suite not to receive food or water.
The claims were made at the inquiry into the death of Mark Hutton, 29, who died while in police custody on March 5 2016.
It was previously revealed that Mr Hutton, who was believed to have been under the influence of drugs, did not receive water or breakfast because of fears he would choke.
One of the women on duty the day Mr Hutton died said that this was not an uncommon occurrence.
Linda Peddie, a now-retired custody officer, also said she and co-worker Brian Conway were struggling to cope with managing the 24 people in custody on that day.
The 59-year-old said she “gave up” asking for help from police colleagues because they would rarely receive assistance.
She told Dundee Sheriff Court: “A lot of the time they (people held in custody) didn’t want them. They might still be half sleeping.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with Evening Telegraph newsletter
“Some of them were like they couldn’t be bothered.
“If they were too under the influence, I wouldn’t give them something in case they choked.
“If I was worried about them I would tell the nurse but that wouldn’t happen all the time.”
Mrs Peddie said that extra staff had been drafted in several years before Mr Hutton’s death because of a previous fatality.
However, she said that those people were never replaced after they left their jobs.
Questioning Mrs Peddie, advocate Lorenzo Alonzi said: “Are we back in a situation where there was just two of you left to cope… where there were far too many prisoners to deal with?”
Mrs Peddie responded: “Yeah.”
She later added: “If we asked upstairs for help we never… got it so we just kind of gave up and stopped asking.
“They knew how busy we were. We shouldn’t have had to ask.”
Later the court heard from custody nurse Janine Watson, who performed CPR on Mr Hutton in a desperate attempt to revive him.
She said she had no concerns about Mr Hutton’s demeanour and appearance before his death.
The 52-year-old said: “I remember going into Mark’s cell, he was lying down and I asked him about his eye drops and where he got them.
“I had no concerns at all. He could answer me directly.”
Recalling the moment she fought to save Mr Hutton, she added: “He was lying on his back, pale, cold, his lips were purple.
“It was a sign of someone having a cardiac arrest. I thought he probably died at that point.”
The inquiry, before Sheriff Alastair Carmichael, continues.