Woman tried to smuggle drugs and SIM cards into prison

Existing accommodation block at HMP Wayland. 

Ella Johnson has been sentenced after admitting smuggling SIM cards and drugs into Wayland Prison - Credit: Archant

A woman who admitted trying to smuggle drugs and SIM cards into prison after being pressured by a former partner has been spared jail.

Ella Johnson, 31, admitted conveying the prohibited items into Wayland Prison.

HMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian Burt

Ella Johnson has been sentenced after admitting smuggling SIM cards and drugs into Wayland Prison - Credit: Archant

Norwich Crown Court heard prison authorities had been aware of what Johnson, from Sprowston, was up to when she visited the jail on September 10, 2020.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Johnson had been going to HMP Wayland to visit her “partner or ex-partner".

Mr Youell said she had been trying to smuggle in SIM cards and pregabalin - a prescription drug used to treat nerve pain, epilepsy and anxiety, which experts say has become a significant problem in some UK jails.

He said by the time Johnson visited the jail it was clear the authorities "were well aware of what was going on".

After Johnson got into the prison she was detained and searched with the help of sniffer dogs.

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Her car was also searched and Johnson was found to have the items.

Her home was also searched and SIM cards and paper laced with the drug Spice were among the items found.

Mr Youell read out a statement from HMP Wayland which said the issue of smuggling drugs into prison were "well documented".

The court heard the offence not only has an impact on the health and welfare of prisoners but also in prison staff who suffer the affects of "assaults by those under the influence of drugs".

Johnson appeared in court on Tuesday (May 10) after having admitted bringing prohibited articles into prison.

She had also previously admitted possession with intent to supply class B and Class C drugs on the same date.

Recorder Darren Reed said the evil caused by drugs in prison was "far worse" than the evil done in society outside.

But Recorder Reed accepted Johnson had been "put under pressure" to comply despite "wanting to disengage".

Johnson was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She was also ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work and up to 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR).

Johnson sobbed in the dock as she learned she was not going to be sent to prison immediately while supporters in the public gallery, including her mother, said "thank you".

Matthew McNiff, mitigating, accepted the crimes Johnson had admitted were serious but insisted she admitted she was guilty and was of previous exemplarily good character.