Search

Holloway mum and son tried to smuggle drugs into Feltham

PUBLISHED: 13:55 05 May 2011 | UPDATED: 14:47 05 May 2011

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia Smith

Archant

A MOTHER and son who hatched a plan to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into a young offenders institute with the help of a corrupt prison officer were sentenced this week.

Convicted robber John Smith, 20, and his mum Sylvia Smith, both of Staveley Close, Holloway, arranged for Mohammed Mirza, 25, to sneak the contraband goods into Feltham inside a bottle of shampoo.

Mirza instigated the conspiracy by effectively touting his “services” as a potential courier to John Smith - a prisoner at Feltham whom he supervised as part of his duties.

Mirza agreed to smuggle the bottles in to the prison in his gym bag - in exchange for £500.

Smith then instructed his mother to buy a large bottle of shampoo, the shape of which lent itself to being easily cut open and then re sealed. He then told her to place three mobile telephone handsets, wrapped in cling film, and two “bits” of “Skunk” cannabis inside the bottle and glue the lid back on.

The prisoner then made arrangements for Mirza to contact his mother to organise a meeting where he would collect the shampoo bottle at Heathrow Airport on April 18 last year. But police intervened before the meeting could take place.

On the morning of the planned exchange detectives arrested Mirza at work and Sylvia Smith at her Holloway home, where they found the shampoo bottle with three mobile phones inside. The bottle did not contain the “Skunk” cannabis because Sylvia Smith had been unable to source it. Detectives also discovered £450 in cash.

Mirza, 25, of Abbotts Way, Slough, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to traffic mobile phones into prison and misconduct in a public office and was jailed for two years.

Mid-way through the trial John Smith, 20, and Sylvia Smith, 57, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic mobile phones into prison and drugs-supply offences.

John Smith was told to serve an extra nine months in custody on top of his current three year sentence. Sylvia Smith was given a 22 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months with a four month electronically monitored curfew preventing her from leaving her house between 9pm and 7am.

Detective Sergeant Neil Smithson said: “A prison officer’s duty is to prevent mobile phones and drugs being trafficked into prisons and not to facilitate that trafficking.

“This sentence - the maximum possible for the offence of trafficking mobile phones in to prisons - sends a warning message to other prison officers who may consider engaging in corrupt activity.

“Furthermore the result demonstrates that the MPS and Her Majesty’s Prison Service are determined to deal robustly with prisoners even if they are already serving a custodial sentence.

“Her Majesty’s Prison service, with the Met police, are committed to ensuring those involved in trafficking drugs and mobile telephones into prisons will be brought to justice.”

Cathy Robinson, Governor of Feltham Young Offender Institution, said: “The vast majority of our staff are honest and hard-working, but one corrupt officer can jeopardise the safety of the whole prison.

“There is no place for corrupt members of staff at HMYOI Feltham and we work closely with the police to identify them, prosecute them and bring them to justice.

“The two-year sentence given to Mohammed Mirza today reflects the seriousness of the offence and demonstrates our commitment to root out corruption.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Islington Gazette