Lewes Prison smuggling conspiracy broken up by Sussex Police
Prison officers, inmates and their loved ones have been sentenced for conspiring to smuggle drugs, alcohol and mobile phones in to Lewes prison.
Sussex Police, working closely with the HM Prison Service, recovered controlled drugs including ‘Spice’ and cocaine.
Ten people, including two prison officers and five prisoners at the time, were sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday 28 July, for conspiring to convey prohibited articles into the prison between 18 June 2014 and 10 September 2015. The three others were a mother and girlfriends of inmates
Eight people had been convicted on 21 July after an eight-week trial:
Ricky Bridger, 54, a prison officer, of The Oaks, Heathfield, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment;
Simon Taylor, 28, a physical trainer and former prison officer, of West Way, Wick, Littlehampton, was sentenced to eight years;
Prisoners at the time Darren Burdfield, 33, and Daniel Sallis, 30, unemployed, now of Bexhill Road, Woodingdean, Brighton both received five years; Simon Penton, 45, was given three.
Sabrina Burdfield, 61, a care assistant, of Redwing Close, Wick, Littlehampton, was given a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months and a four-month doorstep curfew;
Sarah Hall, 32, a care assistant, of Barnet Way, Durrington, Worthing, was also given a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months and a four-month doorstep curfew;
Katie Rudd, 26, unemployed, of Park Farm Lane, Maresfield, was given a two-year sentence suspended for two years and six-month doorstep curfew;
Two other defendants, serving prisoners at the time, Simon Khalil, 34, and Dorian Henry, 26, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing prior to the trial. They were already serving prison sentences for separate conspiracies of supplying cocaine at the time of this new offence. Both were given three year prison sentences.
Bridger, who is currently suspended, and Taylor, who had already left the prison service prior to his arrest, were prison officers who brought in contraband items hidden inside Pringles tubes and protein powder tubs, paid for by prisoners’ relatives and girlfriends.
A large amount of conspirators’ money was disguised and moved around by Sabrina Burdfield and Sarah Hall, respectively the mother and partner of Darren Burdfield, and Katie Rudd the ex-partner of Simon Khalil. Daniel Sallis also used a bank account in his name for the purpose of receiving and transferring monies related to the purchase and sale of prohibited items. Other defendants used the accounts of family members or partners for the same purpose
Sheryl Donegan, 30, unemployed, of Bexhill Rd, Woodingdean, Brighton, partner of Daniel Sallis, was found not guilty on 21 July.
On the same day the jury failed to agree in the case of Danielle Henry, 34, of Alfred Rd, London W2, a finance clerk, who is the sister of Dorian Henry, and she was discharged.
The CPS are planning to seek a re-trial in the case of Danielle Henry.
Detective Chief inspector Till Sanderson, currently of Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, led the investigation when with the Sussex Police Serious Organised Crime Unit.
He said: "This investigation, carried out in partnership with Lewes Prison and HM Prison Service focused on intelligence about attempts to undermine the effective working of the criminal justice and rehabilitation system.
“This case is a result of a Sussex Police investigation into a conspiracy to convey prohibited articles into HMP Lewes, including controlled drugs, steroids and new psychoactive substances similar to Spice, mobile phones, mobile phone accessories and alcohol over a 15 month period.
“The initial success of the operation by prisoners owed a large part to the corruption of two prison officers.
“Financial enquiries revealed a large number of suspicious financial transactions that could be linked to serving prisoners, close family members and friends and prison officers. This was supported by paperwork that was seized and the identification of phone numbers during cell searches within the prison, backed up by telecommunication analysis.
“Sussex Police will be seeking to confiscate criminal assets gained by this group under the Proceeds of Crime Act. It is believed the group’s criminal benefit from this conspiracy was in excess of £170,000."
We will always follow up any information about such activities and anyone with information can contact us online or by calling 101, and arranging to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.
Prisons Minister, Sam Gyimah said: “I have been clear that the current levels of drugs and mobile phones in our prisons is unacceptable and we have put in place a number of measures to disrupt this illegal activity.
“We do not tolerate any corruption and we take swift action against those who undermine the good work of their colleagues or compromise the safety of our prisons.
“These convictions should send a strong message to others who may attempt to do the same; we will find you and put you behind bars."