A Staines man admitted using drones in a bid to smuggle illicit substances and mobile phones into a London prison.
Jamie Duggan, 30, was among a gang of three who hatched the plot to fly the items – which also included flash drives, memory cards and cables – into Wandsworth Prison.
Police said Duggan was already serving time at the prison and would have been the recipient of any articles or substances brought in.
Items including 174g of a herbal synthetic cannabis-type substance and nine miniature mobile phones were found in a car that crashed near the prison.
Duggan, 30, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on Friday to conspiracy to convey prohibited items into a prison and conspiracy to supply psychoactive substances.
Co-defendants Kye Hardy-King, 28, from Hounslow and Craig Kearney, 30, from Southall, West London, also pleaded guilty to the same charges at earlier hearings.
Prosecutors said members of the public contacted police after seeing a drone flying near the prison at around 3am on August 9, 2016.
Police attended and intercepted Kearney, who was driving away at speed from the area of the prison. He failed to stop when requested and continued towards Wandsworth Bridge Road before crashing into a lamppost.
His girlfriend, who was in the front passenger seat, died in the crash while Kearney sustained injuries and was left needing hospital treatment.
He was subsequently charged with causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment at the Old Bailey in February 2018.
Drone found near to scene of crash
An examination of the drone found that it had been switched on at the home address of Hardy-King in Hounslow earlier in the evening.
It had then been flown for three minutes and 14 seconds – but was only in the air at 110m above ground level for 13 seconds outside the prison before the controller brought it back down.
Phones examined as part of the investigation found that all the defendants were connected to one another and knew each other.
A message sent by Kearney said: “We gotta go n do duggy drone 2nite.” This was linked back to Duggan who was already serving time at Wandsworth prison.
Prison officers had already found three mobile phones inside his cell on two previous occasions.
The three men willl be sentenced next month.
“Drones are a scourge on our prisons”
Paul Goddard, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Drones are a scourge on our prisons and have contributed to blighting them with illegal substances, phones and other illicit items.
“This greatly impacts on the ability of authorities to be able to keep prisoners safe and stop criminal enterprises from working from the inside.
“The prosecution was able to show that Kearney, Duggan and Hardy-King were all working together in this conspiracy to get psychoactive substances and mobile phones into Wandsworth prison.
“The CPS has been working closely with the police in this complex case providing advice and guidance at various stages.
“These guilty pleas have brought an end to a long and thorough investigation by the police who have worked incredibly hard to piece together all the evidence needed for this successful prosecution.
“We take the dealing of substances and other illegal items inside prisons extremely seriously and will work with our criminal justice partners to prosecute those who break the law.”
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