Devon

Woman bullied into Devon prison pants drugs drop

HMP Channings Wood
Image caption Sniffer dogs and CCTV were used to find the class A and B drugs on Chelsea Bennett

A prisoner who bullied his young girlfriend into trying to smuggle him £10,000 worth of drugs in her underwear has been given further jail time.

Joe Garland, 31, from Bath, was sentenced to four more years, at Exeter Crown Court.

He organised the supply operation through text messages, arranging for friends to drive Chelsea Bennett, then 18, to Channings Wood jail in Devon.

She was caught when a sniffer dog indicated she might be carrying drugs.

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An officer monitored the visit on CCTV and intervened after seeing her move something from her groin into a pocket.

The pair had been in a relationship for eight months when Bennett was found with crack cocaine and cannabis.

The text messages showed Garland had used emotional and financial pressure to bully her into the smuggling trip.

'Enormous scourge'

He admitted inciting Bennett to possess class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

Bennett, 19, of Chubb Close, Bristol, admitted two counts of possession with intent to supply and one of possession.

She was jailed for 20 months, suspended for two years, with 25 days' supervision.

Recorder Martin Meeke QC told Garland: "This was more serious than the average case because the drugs were being supplied into prison, where everyone knows they are an enormous scourge.

"I have seen the text correspondence and accept that Bennett was only 18 at the time and of good character and you persuaded her to act as she did."

The street value on the outside would have been about £2,400 but the drugs were worth up to £12,000 in prison.

Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said Bennett visited Garland when he was serving a sentence at Channings Wood in July 2017.

He said: "She was escorted out and 21.85 grams of crack and 21.32 grams of cannabis were recovered."

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