THREE men and a woman have been sentenced at Preston Crown Court today (Friday 24 January 2014) for their role in conspiring to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into Garth Prison.
Bernard Jolly, 42, of Princess Street, Swinton, Manchester; Kevin McLoughlin, 55, of Croft Close, Kirkby Stephen; and Dean Cleworth, 33, of no fixed address, received custodial sentences of 51 weeks, 49 weeks and 49 weeks respectively. Cleworth’s sentence is to run consecutive to a current prison sentence that he is serving.
They had all earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs, class C drugs and prohibited items into HMP Garth.
Faye Burke, 25, of Churchill Street, Stockport, had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply prohibited items into HMP Garth and received a 29 week prison sentence suspended for two years.
The sentencing comes after two separate attempts to give packages to prisoner Dean Cleworth at the A&E Department at Chorley Hospital in September 2012.
On the first occasion, Jolly and McLoughlin left a package in a toilet for Cleworth – who had been taken to hospital after he claimed to be ill – to pick up. Cleworth was however taken to a different toilet and the package was recovered by Jolly and McLoughlin before they left.
On the second occasion, as Cleworth arrived at the hospital, McLoughlin was brought in by an ambulance claiming to have chest pains. Burke attended shortly after and told staff her father had been brought in with chest pains. Once on the ward, Burke put a package in a toilet. Cleworth was taken to the toilet and recovered 150 grams of cannabis resin (class B) and 25 subutex tablets (class C) and two mobile phones, which had been left by Burke. McLoughlin checked the toilet after Cleworth had left and then walked out of the hospital.
Staff at the hospital raised the alarm when McLoughlin could not be found. Cleworth was searched on his return to prison and found to have the drugs and mobile phones on him.
DC Martin Hulme from Chorley CID said: “Drugs and mobile phones have a much greater value inside a prison then they do on the streets. We estimate that the drugs and phones that were recovered on Cleworth would have had a value of around £9,000 inside the prison.
“This has been a complex investigation that shows that, despite the best efforts of organised criminals to cover their tracks, the police will remain committed to tackling the supply and use of illegal drugs across Lancashire.
“These offenders have used the services of the NHS and the North West Ambulance Service with no regard whatsoever for the needs of genuine patients. This disgraceful misuse of public services demonstrates the selfish and greedy attitude of the offenders.
“We work closely with colleagues from other forces as well as the prison service to combat drug supply and we will take action against anyone we suspect to be involved. I would urge anyone who has any information about drugs to tell us so that we can continue to take action.”
Governor of HMP Garth Steve Lawrence added: “Drugs and mobile phones are dangerous and illegal items within a prison environment. As criminals try to find new ways to supply such articles into the prison system, we will continue to work with our criminal justice partners to catch them at it.”
Jim Lloyd, Security Adviser at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thankful that our staff were so vigilant. This was an isolated incident and our staff do routinely check the public toilets in our hospitals. We have worked closely with both Lancashire Constabulary and the prison service to ensure that security is heightened when prisoners are brought into our hospitals.”
Information about drugs can be reported to the police on 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.