Doncaster prison drug smuggler had £39K of ‘spice’ in her trainers

A vulnerable woman who was pressured into smuggling £39,000 of drugs into a South Yorkshire prison in her shoes got cold feet when she saw other visitors being searched, a court heard.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 12:02 pm

Naomi Wheatley appeared "very nervous and said she didn't want to go ahead with her visit" at HMP Lindholme, near Doncaster, on January 2, last year.

Prosecutor Carl Fitch described how 46 A4 sheets of paper, impregnated with the psychoactive drug "spice" were found in her trainers, with a potential prison value of £39,000.

He said a "common method" of smuggling the drug was to spray it on paper and send it as a letter or a printed picture, and it could be smoked, or absorbed by rubbing into the skin.

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HMP Lindholme
HMP Lindholme

A small amount of cannabis was later found at Wheatley's home, on Jermyn Street, Bradford.

She first told police she had been coerced by "some Asian men she met in a nightclub," the court heard, but later admitted she was pressured by a "violent partner."

Jayne Beckett, mitigating, said Wheatley was "clearly in fear" at the time of the offence, and has "been nothing short of a wreck, ever since."

She told the court how Wheatley, who has severe mental health problems, suffered years of mental and physical abuse, and was in "great danger" of being preyed upon if she was sent to prison.

"She wouldn't get the very intricate package of care she needs," Mrs Beckett added. "In some senses, she is one of life's victims."

Wheatley, 37, pleaded guilty to the offences at the first opportunity.

Judge Peter Kelson QC quoted from previous cases when sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court, on Wednesday.

"The evil drugs do in prison is even worse than in open society," he said. "They are instruments of great power and oppression (and) they have an inherently corrosive and corrupting influence."

He said he was sympathetic to Wheatley's situation, but had to bear in mind the safety of prison officers, and sentenced her to three months.