Jail kitchen employee imprisoned for aiming to smuggle in cellphones

 

A PRISON employee who tried to smuggle 10 smart phones into jail after being harassed by an anonymous caller has actually been jailed.Christopher Merritt was stopped on his way into Bullingdon Prison, near Bicester, with 10 smart phones covered in stick film discovered stowed away down his pants.District attorney Cathy Olliver stated the search of the 23-year-old on January 25 was sparked by a confidential tip-off.

 

She informed Oxford Crown Court on Thursday [apr28] Merritt had actually been working at the prison's kitchen for 15 months before he attempted to smuggle the phones inside.The court heard 7.98 g of the celebration drug MDMA was found at his home in Honeysuckle Way, in Bicester.Ms Olliver said Merritt informed police he had been pestered by calls from an anonymous number, when he answered he was told to get the phones and deliver them.She included: "He was bugged by these calls.

 

"Finally he addressed a call from a kept number saying take these things into prison and these telephone call will stop."This seemed to be accompanied by a general air of threat."He met a male in a park near Bicester, received these phones and took them into the prison."

 

Merritt admitted attempting to convey a List B article into a jail and possessing the Class A drugs, which he stated were for his own personal use.Robert Lindsey, safeguarding, said his client had been "foolish and ignorant" to attempt to smuggle the phones into the prison.He appealed for the court to suspend any sentence of jail time on Merritt and added: "There was no ability or elegance."It was an ignorant and silly attempt and one that was not likely to prosper."

 

However Judge Peter Ross told Merritt he had not been "ignorant or foolish" however had attempted to take the phones into the prison with his "eyes wide open" to the repercussions.He added: "Not only did you know what was forbidden and why it was restricted, but you likewise knew as a member of the civilian personnel the steps you ought to take if others looked for to pursue you to take contraband into the jail."

 

Judge Ross said smuggling phones into a jail "corroded" the order and discipline of the institution.He said while on one level detainees would hire the handsets to their fellow prisoners, causing bullying and financial obligation, smart phones likewise allowed detainees to continue to carry out crimes or intimidate witnesses.He added: "It enables criminal activity to continue from within the jail.

 

"It has actually caused the course of justice to be perverted and hindered."Given some of individuals within prison it can potentially undermine nationwide security."Imprisoning Merritt for 20 months, Judge Ross stated his sentence likewise needed to work as a deterrent to other jail authorities not to smuggle contraband into prisons.He included: "It is indicated to hinder in addition to punish and send a message."