Sunderland man caught throwing thousands of pounds of Spice drug over prison wall

A former jail inmate threw thousands of pounds worth of psychoactive 'Spice' over a prison wall.

Thursday, 9th November 2017, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 7:09 am
HMP Northumberland

John Curtis was "bullied" by dealers into hurling a package of banned items over the perimeter fence at HMP Northumberland last June.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the illegal parcel, which was quickly spotted by guards, contained £7,890 of Spice, a 'legal high' at the time which has since been outlawed due to its "zombie" effects on users.

John Curtis

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Prosecutor Robin Patton told the court it also contained £140 of MDMA, £105 of cannabis, £670 of diazepam, over £100 of a prescription drug used to treat epilepsy and a mobile phone.

Curtis, of Campbell Road, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to throwing psychoactive and banned items into a prison.

Prosecutors accepted the 31-year-old, who has previous convictions for drugs and dishonesty and has served prison sentences in the past, had been "put under pressure" to get the parcel into the prison.

An official from the jail said in a statement that banned substances have "a corrosive effect on prison life" and pose a threat to security and rehabilitation inmates.

John Curtis

Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Curtis was put under "coercion, intimidation and pressure" and is a vulnerable man who had been "bullied" since he was released from his last prison sentence.

Miss Coxon said: "He would not have had the means to buy these items.

"He was given them by someone else."

Miss Coxon said Curtis had "no option" but to take the package and added: "He had no idea what was in it."

Judge Robert Spragg sentenced Curtis to two years and eight months behind bars.

The judge told him: "It is quite clear you would not have been able to pay for these drugs yourself.

"I reflect the pressure you were put under."