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Gang 'used drones to deliver drugs to inmates at Midlands jails'

Crime | Published:

A gang from the Black Country smuggled drugs into jails, using drones to fly the contraband to cell windows, a jury heard.

Drugs were allegedly delivered by drone to Featherstone and Oakwood prisons

The method was used at Featherstone and Oakwood, near Wolverhampton, and Winson Green in Birmingham.

Packages were delivered using fishing lines, hooked into cells below, a trial heard.

Birmingham Crown Court was told that between April 2016 and June 2017, four men and one woman trafficked tens of thousands of pounds worth of drugs, which increased in value in prison by up to ten-fold.

Prosecutor Ms Michelle Heeley, QC, said: “You can see why people would want to be involved in this illegal business – there is money to be made, profits to be had.”

In the dock are Stella Deakin, aged 41, Shane Hadlington, 29, Lee Anslow, 31, Paul Ferguson, 27, and Stefan Rattray, 28.

HMP Birmingham, known locally as Winson Green Prison

The illegal items included cocaine, skunk and cannabis, substances such as Mamba and Spice, and mobiles and sim cards.

The court heard that the main conspirators were Anslow, a prisoner co-ordinating the deliveries, and Brandon Smith, on the outside, who acted as pilot. Smith, 24, from Tipton, has already pleaded guilty.

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He recruited people on the outside, like Deakin, to help as drivers, fliers, and look-outs, while on the inside Ferguson, Hadlington and Rattray distributed the contents of the packages, the court was told.

The first offence involved a flight into Oakwood carrying mobiles, a charger and 80 grams of Mamba worth up to £50,000 inside.

On another occasion, Deakin drove Smith to HMP Wymott in Preston where her partner, Hadlington, was an inmate. Officers spotted a drone flying over and saw a stick come out of a cell window to retrieve a package hanging from it.

Deakin, of Boundry Hill, Dudley, Hadlington, of Clay Lane, Oldbury, Rattray, of Attingham Drive, Dudley and Anslow and Ferguson, both serving prisoners, deny three charges involving conspiracy to convey and supply drugs, psychoactive substances, mobile phones and sim cards into prisons.

The trial continues.

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