A woman was caught trying to smuggle a Kinder egg full of cannabis into HMP Northumberland when staff saw her “fiddling with her trousers” in the waiting area.
Louise Walker had arranged to visit a prisoner at the jail in November 2018 but was seen on CCTV “acting suspiciously” and taken to a holding room, where she handed over the package.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 39-year-old had never met the inmate she was supposed to give the cannabis to, but had agreed to take it in order to pay off a drugs debt of her own.
Walker has now avoided an immediate jail term after a judge said she had “not stepped out of line” in the 18 months she had been waiting to be sentenced.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said Walker attended HMP Northumberland on November 3 2018 to visit a prisoner.
He told the court: “She was seen on the CCTV cameras to be acting suspiciously, fiddling with the front of her trousers.
“This led to her being detained and taken to a holding room. Once in the holding room she was told that if she had anything on her person it would be in her best interests to hand it over voluntarily.
“The defendant retrieved a Kinder egg wrapped in plastic from her trousers. She said she hadn’t put drugs in the Kinder Egg, it had been handed to her already filled.”
The egg was later found to contain 5.36 grams of cannabis.
Mr Pallister said Walker “admitted taking the egg into prison but said she didn’t know what was inside”.
She told officers she was to be paid £250 for successfully passing the egg to the prisoner, but that she didn’t know him.
Walker later pleaded guilty to conveying a ‘list A’ article into a prison. The court heard she had been convicted of a similar offence in 2013.
Stephen Hammill, defending, said Walker had “serious and substantial personal problems” and had accrued drug debts.
He said: “The people who put her up to this offence knew she had outstanding debt. It was a case of ‘if you take this into prison for our friend our debts are settled’.”
Judge Tim Gittins sentenced Walker to six months in prison, but suspended the sentence for 18 months.
He said: “This shouldn’t give anybody the impression that in ordinary circumstances a sentence of immediate imprisonment will not follow for people who take drugs into prisons.”
But he added: “You made admissions in November 2018, and have not stepped out of line since. It is a long time to have this sentence hanging over your head and it is to your credit you have behaved well.
“Your personal circumstances have also since improved, and there is a significant risk that if I were to remand you to prison for this relatively short period of time, that would be lost and the work done with voluntary agencies would all be for naught.”
Walker, of Churchill Square, Gilesgate, County Durham, was also sentenced to 15 days of rehabilitation activity and a six month curfew ordering her…