Drugs hidden inside balloon

Drugs were hidden inside a balloon in an attempt to smuggle them into Highpoint Prison, a court was told.

Ipswich Crown Court heard on Friday that Conor Hughes, 21, hid them in the balloon with strong smelling food to thwart sniffer dogs.

Hughes from Grays in Essex was charged under breaching the Prisons Act instead of under the Misuse of Drugs Act as the problem of drug smuggling at Highpoint was becoming and increasing problem the court was told.

Prosecutor Godfried Duah said a CCTV operator monitoring visiting at the Stradishall prison saw an inmate place something in his mouth and make an unsuccessful attempt at swallowing it.

The prisoner then removed the item from his mouth and placed it in his shoe where officers later found a wrap of cannabis.

When CCTV images were reviewed, they showed Hughes handing over the balloon to the inmate.

Hughes told police: “It was me. I brought a little wrap of weed with me.” He said he had purchased the cannabis for £10 as a present for his friend who was unaware that he was to receive it.

Mr Duah said that because smuggling into Highpoint was an increasing problem for the authorities, Hughes had been charged under the Prisons Act rather than the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Alan Barker, for Hughes, said: “He was simply trying to give a gift to a friend, a rather stupid act of friendship of which he didn’t appreciate the gravity.”

Hughes now realised what he had done and was ‘deeply ashamed and had a rude awakening’ said Mr Barker.

Hughes was charged with supplying a prohibited article to a serving prisoner last November. Judge John Devaux sentenced him to 16 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered him to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. He will be under Probation supervision for 12 months and pay £900 costs.