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Oakwood prison officer admits drug offences and mobile phone smuggling

By Jack Averty | South Staffordshire | News | Published:

A former prison officer has admitted trying to smuggle mobile phones into HMP Oakwood.

Mark Starbuck

Mark Starbuck, of Brynmawr Road, Bilston, has also pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of drugs with intent to supply.

Starbuck was arrested in January after the West Midlands regional organised crime unit and HMP Oakwood’s security team swooped on the Featherstone jail.

After the 28-year-old was found in possession of the phones at work, Staffordshire Police searched his home where they found the drugs.

A 23-year-old woman, from Cannock, was arrested alongside Starbuck at HMP Oakwood on suspicion of trying to smuggle mobiles into the jail.

She was later released without charge.

Starbuck pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession with intent to supply buprenorphine – an opioid medicine – and conspiracy to convey a prohibited article into a prison, namely mobile phones, at Stafford Crown Court last week.

It is not clear whether he intended to supply drugs to inmates.

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Mark Starbuck admitted trying to smuggle mobile phones into HMP Oakwood

Deputy Director at HMP Oakwood, Sean Oliver, said: “We expect the highest standards of integrity from those working at the prison and if there is any suggestion that a member of the team has undermined the good work of their colleagues, we will always take action."

Opened in April 2012, Oakwood is the country’s largest prison. It can hold more than 2,000 inmates and is run by private security firm G4S, which also runs HMP Birmingham – the scene riots last year.

Since it opened, the Category C prison has struggled with a number of issues.

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton

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