A mum smuggled steroids and phones into Dartmoor prison in her bra, a court heard.

Jodie Harris, aged 39, was caught with 99 pills and five miniature handsets, as well as sim cards and chargers, during a visit.

Messages on her device revealed she had sneaked in more mobile phones during an earlier visit, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Mother-of-two Harris had built up drug debts and had been put under pressure to deliver the contraband to an inmate.

The court heard a statement from a prison governor at HMP Dartmoor which revealed that drugs fuelled violence behind bars while mobile phones allowed criminals to continue their business from their cells.

Handing her a suspended prison sentence, Judge James Townsend said: “You have escaped custody by the skin of your teeth.

“You are lucky not to be going to prison today. It must be made plain to the public that in normal circumstances a prison sentence almost inevitably follows in this type of case.

“But because of the exceptional circumstances in your case, I felt able to suspend it.”

He cited her own mental health difficulties and the fact that she was involved in the care of her disabled daughter.

HMP Dartmoor

Judge Townsend said she had given up illegal drugs and had left a previous relationship.

The judge said she was “effectively” of good character, though she was given a community order for a truanting offence.

Harris, of Buttgarden Street, Bideford, pleaded guilty to two counts of smuggling prohibited items into HMP Dartmoor on May 17 last year.

She also admitted a similar offence two weeks before on May 4.

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Emma Cross, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that a scanner detected Harris was carrying an electrical device during the second visit.

She added: “She looked shocked to have been caught out. She was asked whether she had anything on her. She reached into her bra area and pulled out six small packages wrapped in cling film.

“They contained five mini mobile phones, 10 sim cards, five charging cables and 99 steroid tablets.”

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Miss Cross said that analysis of hundreds of messages on her own mobile phone showed that she had smuggled in three mobile phones and charging cables during a visit on May 4.

The barrister read from a statement given by Dartmoor governor Mark Duke.

He said: “Career criminals use mobile phones to continue to run their business.”

Mr Duke said that drug use caused vulnerable prisoners to be exploited and built up debts, fuelling violence and self-harm.

Michael Green, for Harris, said that she was in supported accommodation and the needs of her disabled daughter were so great that she lived in a separate care home.

He added that Harris was involved in the upbringing of the girl.

Mr Green said the defendant had been homeless at the time of the offences.

He added: “She does not seek to blame other parties, but there is a suggestion in the messages of pressure, if not persuasion, upon her.

“She is off drugs and she is seeking work.”

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Judge Townsend told Harris: “To an extent you were used and you were naive.”

He handed her an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with probation’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and thinking skills course.

Harris must pay £200 towards prosecution costs.





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