Jailed: Sunderland smuggler threw £40,000 stash of drugs, drink and phones over prison wall

editorial image
Have your say

A SMUGGLER got almost £40,000 worth of drugs, phones and alcohol into a prison – by throwing them over the wall.

Leslie Podd, of Cairo Street, in Hendon, hid in bushes and threw four soft drinks bottles, which had been packed with cocaine, cannabis, steroids, vodka and mobile phones, into the grounds of HMP Northumberland.

The illegal haul was then collected by lags who quickly stashed it in the nearby prison laundry ready for distribution among paying inmates.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the plan for prisoners to enjoy the smuggled stash was foiled by guards who had watched the 37-year-old throw the bottles over the perimeter fence.

In the minutes it took for staff to be despatched to the grassland where the banned loot had landed, all four bottles had been hidden.

All prisoners were searched and the contraband was found hidden in the toilet cistern and a specially adapted box in the laundry.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: “This was not just conveying prohibited articles but it seems to have been an organised attempt to do so.

“He is clearly getting instructions from someone on a mobile phone where and when to deposit the articles.

“They are then retrieved very quickly by someone in the prison.

“The doors to the laundry area are kept open to allow fresh air in, so workers don’t overheat.

“A gauze is pulled down to keep people inside.

“The gauze had been pulled apart to allow entry to the grassed area and the bottles were quickly concealed before staff attended and searched the laundry.”

Podd admitted conveying banned articles into a prison.

The list included 105 diazepam tablets, worth up to £1,000 behind bars, 2.823g of cocaine, worth £360, a half kilo of cannabis resin, worth up to £22,500, 2g of skunk cannabis, worth up to £60, 165.5 tablets of Subutex heroin substitute, worth up to £16,000.

Miss Dowling told the court the value of goods and banned items in prison is hugely inflated to the cost on the streets.

Podd had also smuggles 48 temazepam tablets, 55.5 steroid tablets and seven mobile phones.

The court heard he had been taken to the prison last April in a van, which was parked outside and was what drew the attention of the guards.

He was captured on CCTV making the illegal drop.

Police found a small amount of cannabis resin when they searched his home, which he admitted possession of.

The court heard Podd agreed to get involved in the scam because he was concerned about his and his brother’s safety due to a debt owed.

Mr Recorder Nigel Sangster QC jailed Podd for three years.

The judge told him: “I accept you probably weren’t the leading light in this, your brother did have a drug debt and you were pressured into doing this to pay that debt off.

“There were others involved, you were the stooge who had the job to throw the stuff over the wall.

“You took part in committing a serious offence.

“Those in prison are not to have drugs, phones or alcohol.”

Nick Lane, defending, said the only benefit Podd would have received was for the threats to stop and the debts to be reduced or wiped out.