Winchester prison governor warns contraband smugglers will be caught as gang is sentenced

Winchester Prison
Winchester Prison
The abandoned digger

REGIONAL: Thieves steal digger... then use that to steal cash machine... then take it away on stolen truck

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THE governor of Winchester jail has said the conviction of eight people involved in bringing contraband into the prison shows how authorities will uncover any smuggling.

It comes after two people were jailed today and six others previously sentenced.

The mobile phone and drugs smuggling ring was run by two cell mates, including Ben Carr, who is serving a life sentence for conspiring to murder a mother-of-five.

HMP Winchester governor Stephanie Robert-Bibby said: ‘A case such as this brings to light the hard work of prison staff and police officers to uncover the full extent of criminal conspiracies attempting to smuggle contraband items into and out of prison premises.

‘This result sends a clear message that such activity will be brought to light and punished.

‘I’d like to thank my staff and the investigating officers for building a clear picture of the activities that prisoners and members of the public were undertaking for a short period at HMP Winchester.’

Senior investigating officer DCI Ellie Hurd, from Hampshire police, added: ‘Our investigation was launched after intelligence was received from HMP Winchester that a mobile phone had been recovered from Ben Carr and Suritai Phanthiva’s cell in April 2015.

‘Detailed phone enquiries including recovering deleted text messages and analysing cell site data revealed Rebecca Vaughan was conspiring with Rhonda Pack, Danielle Carr, Christopher Byles, and Connie Rooke to smuggle mobile phones into the prison. ‘Further enquiries uncovered text messages between Sophie Lennards and Ben Carr.

‘These conversations referred to items including mobile phones, the psychoactive substance Spice, cannabis, and steroids being smuggled into HMP Winchester on behalf of Ben Carr with assistance from Danielle Carr and Sophie Lennards.

‘Further enquiries revealed the extent of this conspiracy with other people employed to smuggle packages into the prison premises which would then subsequently be distributed by Phanthiva, Carr and their associates.’

‘The misuse of drugs and other psychoactive substances in a prison has widespread consequences.

‘This includes the health and safety of individual prisoners, the result of associated violence on staff. and potential impact on prisoners’ friends and families in the local community.’