Two inmates at a Leeds prison have been given additional jail terms after being caught with mobile phones as part of an ongoing crackdown by the police and prison authorities.
It is a criminal offence to possess a mobile phone or component parts in prison and their use by inmates presents a serious risk to security. The illegal use of mobile phones gives prisoners the ability to organise the trafficking of drugs into prison, intimidate people and continue to be involved in criminal activities outside of prison.
Idris Hussain, aged 23, from Halifax, who was jailed in January this year for possessing cocaine with intent to supply, appeared at Leeds Crown Court on July 14 where he pleaded guilty to possessing a mobile phone in HMP Leeds.
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment consecutive to his existing sentence and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.
Jermel Bernard, aged 28, from Leeds, who was jailed in March 2015 for possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply, was also given an additional 12-month term and £100 victim surcharge when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court on July 5 and admitted possessing a mobile phone in the prison.
Detective Inspector Mark Atkinson, of Leeds District CID, said: “We have been working very closely with our colleagues in the district’s prisons to make sure that any crimes committed by prisoners are fully investigated and appropriate action taken.
“The possession of mobile phones by prisoners is always a particular cause for concern as it gives them unrestricted communication with the outside world to continue to commit crimes, intimidate people and arrange for drugs to be smuggled into prisons.
“Through closer co-operation with the prisons we have been increasing our focus on offences inside prisons and these latest convictions are a measure of the success we are having.
“We hope it will serve as a warning to prisoners of the additional sentences they can expect and also act as a deterrent to others who involve themselves in attempting to smuggle phones or drugs into prisons.”
HMP Leeds Governor Steven Robson said: “Successful joint working between HMP Leeds and West Yorkshire Police comes at a cost to offenders. Our message is clear. We will continue to work in close partnership with West Yorkshire Police to get a conviction in every case.”
Since March 1 this year, there have been 22 cases involving mobile phones at the prison that have been dealt with positively. A total of 12 are awaiting prosecution, with three others already sentenced, and seven under investigation with a view to prosecution.