Leeds prisoner tells court 'officers are more corrupt than inmates'

HMP Wealstun
HMP Wealstun
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A prisoner told a court that contraband items were so rife within a Leeds jail that it was corrupting officers.

Liam Stoyles made the claim as he was sentenced for possessing a mobile phone in HMP Wealstun, near Wetherby.

Stoyles told the court how he agreed to charge the phone in his cell for another inmate he owed a £100 debt to for the drug spice.

Leeds Crown Court heard Stoyles was arrested in his cell on April 3 this year.

Bashir Ahmed, prosecuting, said a prison officer saw Stoyles "messing about with something in the front of his trousers" when he looked through the observation hole to his cell.

The officer went into the cell and found an improvised charger and phone battery on the floor.

The officer then asked Stoyles if he had anything else and he admitted to having the phone.

Mr Ahmed said the phone was charged and fully functional.

Stoyles, 24, pleaded guilty to possession of a mobile phone in prison.

Mr Ahmed read a statement to the court on behalf of HMP Wealstun governor Kevin Dennis, describing the impact of mobile phones with prison.

Mr Dennis described how it undermined public confidence in the criminal justice system if inmates were able to become involved in social networking.

The governor said phones in prison led to violence, drug trafficking and allowed gang culture to develop.

He added that they contributed to low morale among officers and inmates.

The defendant appeared in court via a video link from Hull Prison and did not have legal representation.

When asked about the offence, he said: "I was smoking a lot of spice and I got into a lot of debt.

"A kid said 'you owe me £100, charge this phone for me.'"

Styoles told the court he was high on the the synthetic cannabis drug at the time officers entered his cell and found the phone.

He added: "Tell Wealstun to watch out for the officers.

"They are more corrupt than us."

Stoyles is serving a 28-month sentence for drug dealing.

Judge Andrew Stubbs, QC, gave Stoyles a further nine month sentence.

He said: "You had got in to debt because of the drugs you had taken in prison and you were looking after the phone because of that position.

"You tell me that the possession of contraband in Wealstun is such a problem that even some officers are being corrupted.

"Everything you tell me really enforces why the possession of mobiles in prison must be met with immediate deterrent sentences."