A PRISONER from Renfrew ran a drugs smuggling operation from three Scottish jails by phone call and letter.

Craig Sutton, 37, mentioned his drug dealing in the letters and spoke openly about it on prison phones which should have been monitored.

He carried out the drug dealing in heroin and ecstasy between February 2015 and July 2017 when he was a prisoner at HMP Perth, then HMP Edinburgh and then HMP Addiewell.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the offences only came to light on July 19, 2017 at HMP Addiewell when a fire alarm went off in a neighbouring cell to Sutton.

Prosecutor Mark McGuire said: “For safety’s sake prison officers began checking the surrounding cells including Mr Sutton’s which had been locked from the inside.

“On unlocking the door they observed a number of people in the cell including the accused. A smell of burning was noticed and they were ordered out and the cell searched and a small quantity of heroin was found and drug related paraphernalia and a suspected tick list.”

Sutton’s cell was sealed and fully searched by police on September 8, 2017 and  this revealed dozens of letters addressed to Sutton from other prisoners.

There was also an unsent letter written by Sutton in which he set out his plan to smuggle drugs into prison.

Mr McGuire said: “This would be by arranging for third parties on the outside to conceal multiple quantities of drugs internally; commit high value shoplifting and claim to be of no fixed abode so that they would be remanded in custody.”

Police also seized recordings of all telephone calls made or received by Sutton since he was jailed in 2014.

Co-accused Natalie Williamson, 30, also from Renfrew, admitted allowing her bank account to be used to deposit £30,000 of criminal money.

Mr McGuire added: “Those recordings included frequent discussions between the accused Sutton and the accused Williamson during which Sutton made frequent reference to his trafficking in heroin and Ecstasy inside and outside of the prison.

“Discussions also took place between the two regarding the use of Williamson’s bank account to receive the money owed to Sutton for drugs. Regular mention was made of drugs which he had either supplied or arranged to have supplied and for which payment had not been made.

“The money received into Williamson’s account make it clear the drugs trafficked by Sutton were worth at least £30,000.”

Judge Lord Burns said: “There was a time when letters were examined in the prison did that not happen?”

Mr McGuire replied: “There are two possibilities – the letters and phone recordings were monitored and nothing was done or they were not monitored.”
Lord Burns said: “It is of concern an operation involving a number of prisons and nothing was done about it.”

He ordered the prosecutor to investigate.

Williamson’s defence counsel Paul Nelson said: “Mr Sutton cajoled her to let him use her bank account.”

Sutton, who appeared via a video link, was remanded in custody and Williamson was granted bail. Both will be sentenced next month.

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