A former prison officer is among five men sentenced for a plot to supply cannabis into a local prison.
Jack Nichols trafficked the Class B drug into HMP Stocken in Rutland, where he worked as a prison officer.
A drugs dog indicated at the 29-year-old staff member during a routine search in August 2019. Nichols admitted there was cannabis in his car ready to be stuffed into his trousers and walked in.
A search of the car revealed two blocks of resin wrapped in clingfilm, weighing just under 200g, in the glove box. More of the same was discovered at Nichols’ home, within a bedside table, as well as just under 100g already hidden in a cell at the prison.
Some of the drugs siezed during the investigation. Photo: Leicestershire Police.
Further enquiries by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) found Nichols had been paid nearly £4,000 to bring cannabis to inmate Joe Baggaley.
The prisoner’s friend on the outside, James Hanks, was involved in collecting the drug from Ivan Freeman-Lunt in Liverpool, and Mitchell Dytiche was found to be involved in the bank transfers.
All five men, who had previously pleaded guilty to their involvement, were sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Friday 8 October, as follows:
Joe Christopher Baggaley, aged 23 and of HMP Stocken, who was described as the ‘coordinator’ and ‘organiser’ during sentencing: Three years imprisonment (to run consecutively to his current term) for conspiracy to supply a Class B drug.
Ivan Emmanuel Freeman-Lunt, aged 42 and formerly of Barrington Road in Liverpool: Two years, one month imprisonment for conspiracy to supply a Class B drug.
Jack Nichols, aged 29 and formerly of Bedford Close in Grantham: One year, four months imprisonment (16-month custodial terms for each count, to run concurrently) for conspiracy to supply a Class B drug, possession with intent to supply a Class B drug, and conveying a prohibited item (namely a Class B drug) into prison.
Mitchell Dytiche, aged 24 and of Brittle Place in Smallthorne, Staffordshire: 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for conspiracy to supply a Class B drug.
James Hanks, aged 25 and of Becton Avenue in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent: 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, plus a 20-day rehabilitation order, for conspiracy to supply a Class B drug.
EMSOU’s Regional Prisons Intelligence Detective Inspector Dan Evans said: “On the street, this haul was worth just over £3,055, but behind bars drugs are much more valuable. We estimated these men could have made in excess of £30,000 from the blocks we seized. And not just that, the rivalry that can come from the vying for such illicit commodities by inmates can have serious repercussions for the stability of the prison environment.
“What, according to Nichols, began as a means of paying off debt by bringing a bit of tobacco into the prison – a crime in itself – quickly spiralled down a slippery slope into drug trafficking. As an employee, he has breached trust and compromised the safety of his colleagues and those they are tasked with managing.”
Prison governor Neil Thomas OBE said: “HMP Stocken will not tolerate corruption in any form and works in partnership with the police to bring to account all those who attempt to supply contraband into our prisons.
“The sentence imposed by the court today will be welcomed by our hardworking and courageous staff, whose safety is undermined by the dishonest actions of a small number of corrupt individuals.”
Police will now make efforts to seize any criminal gains made though this illicit operation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.