22 Leeds prisoners found with contraband phones during crackdown

There have been 22 cases involving prisoners found with mobile phones at HMP Leeds since March 1.

There have been 22 cases involving prisoners found with mobile phones at HMP Leeds since March 1.

More than 20 prisoners have been caught with contraband mobile phones in HMP Leeds since the start of March.

It follows a crackdown by police and prison authorities to detect the illegal possession by inmates of mobile phones or phone parts.

We will continue to work with police to get a conviction in every case.

HMP Leeds Governor Steven Robson

Two of those caught with mobile phones received additional jail terms when they appeared at Leeds Crown Court earlier this month.

Detective Inspector Mark Atkinson, of Leeds District CID, said: “We have been working very closely with our colleagues in the district’s prisons to make sure that any crimes committed by prisoners are fully investigated and appropriate action taken.

“The possession of mobile phones by prisoners is always a particular cause for concern as it gives them unrestricted communication with the outside world to continue to commit crimes, intimidate people and arrange for drugs to be smuggled into prisons.”

Idris Hussain was given a further year in prison and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge on July 14 after pleading guilty to possessing a mobile phone in the prison. The 23-year-old from Halifax was originally jailed in January this year for possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Jermel Bernard, 28, of Leeds, was jailed in March 2015 for possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply. He was given an additional 12-month term and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge on July 5 when he admitted possessing a mobile phone in the prison.

Since the crackdown began on March 1, the authorities have dealt with 22 cases involving prisoners found with mobile phones at the prison.

A total of 12 inmates are awaiting prosecution, with seven more under investigation with a view to prosecution and three sentenced to date.

Det Insp Atkinson said: “Through closer co-operation with the prisons we have been increasing our focus on offences inside prisons and these latest convictions are a measure of the success we are having.

“We hope it will serve as a warning to prisoners of the additional sentences they can expect and also act as a deterrent to others who involve themselves in attempting to smuggle phones or drugs into prisons.”

HMP Leeds Governor Steven Robson added: “Successful joint working between HMP Leeds and West Yorkshire Police comes at a cost to offenders. Our message is clear. We will continue to work in close partnership with West Yorkshire Police to get a conviction in every case.”

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