Inmate helped smuggle £23k of cannabis into Erlestoke Prison
9:37am Monday 19th August 2013 in Latest News
A prisoner who helped smuggle £23,000 worth of cannabis and 13 mobile phones into Erlestoke prison has been handed a further 10-month sentence.
Shane Newman picked up the bag which had been thrown over the fence at a 'blind spot' and hurled it on to a low roof by the exercise yard.
The 24-year-old claimed he had been put under pressure to take part in the escapade because he had a £15 tobacco debt.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon crown court on Friday, November 9 last year staff became aware of a suspicious package on a flat roof in the prison.
Through a combination of CCTV footage and staff observations she said it was discovered it had been thrown over the fence of the prison, between Westbury and Devizes, and picked up by Newman.
He had then thrown the bag, which had half a kilogram of cannabis in nine packages, the phones, five mobile batteries and five chargers in it.
It also contained 3.71 grams of class C drug subutex, which is used as a substitute by heroin addicts.
Miss Hingston said drugs in prisons can be worth 400 times to their worth on the streets, valuing the consignment at £23,000.
She said the defendant was questioned about the package and said he was put under pressure to help bring it into the jail.
He was told the bag would come over in a blind spot for the CCTV covering the fence and inmates at windows shouted instructions to him as he picked it up.
After naming the people who put him up to it he has had to be moved away and is currently serving at a prison in Staffordshire.
Newman, of South Wales, conveying a prohibited article into prison and two counts of possessing drugs with intent to supply.
Stephen Jones, defending, said his client had been jailed for four years with a two-year extended sentence in 2010 for wounding with intent to cause GBH.
He was recalled after failing on early released in January last year and was hoping to be released on parole at the time of the offences.
But he will now have to wait until the halfway point of any new sentence imposed before he can ask to be released.
Jailing him Judge Douglas Field said "You played what see is a lesser role but it was still an important link to the supply into prison of mobile phones and drugs.
"The courts deal very seriously with these sort of offences because drugs and mobile phones, once they get into prison, cause a great deal of problems to prison authorities and a threat to prison discipline."
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