A young lady in the United Kingdom could have caught a significant sentence – legitimate prison time – after she attempted to smuggle anabolic steroids and other contraband, including cell phone cards, into a prison for her boyfriend.
Luckily though, the judge provided a little bit of leniency in this specific situation and gave her an 18 month prison sentence though in the next sentence suspended it entirely – giving her a permanent black mark on her legal record, but not forcing her to do any hard time for her criminal actions.
Nicole Tomlinson pled guilty to the charges of attempting to smuggle both Category A and Category B substances and contraband into the prison in 2017. Prosecutors were able to conclusively prove that she had tried to smuggle injectable anabolic steroids and a mobile phone SIM card during a visit to her boyfriend that was currently serving a sentence at the prison.
Police officers reported that she was initially interviewed in the gift shop of the prison facility after operators in the vicinity noticed her behaving suspiciously. At first Tomlinson had brushed off the criticism and said that she was merely nervous about being at the jail, though a prison guard that had noticed her on several visits previously commented that she had been a regular visitor and that she hadn’t displayed any behavior like the behavior she was exhibiting right now.
Almost immediately after being called out on her behavior Tomlinson produced a vial of anabolic steroids that she was attempting to smuggle into the prison, though the vial had been on open. Police immediately took her into custody and upon her arrest she admitted that she was also carrying a SIM card for mobile devices and that she had been attempting to smuggle both of them into the prison without getting caught.
These kinds of smuggling situations are anything but uncommon at prisons throughout the United Kingdom, and prisons in general.
Representatives from the prison guard force at this particular facility mentioned that there had been a number of attempts to smuggle contraband into prisoners, and that every year they deal with dozens of different attempts with the overwhelming majority of them stopped before the contraband gets anywhere near the prisoners themselves.
Obviously, allowing contraband into prison facilities from the outside dramatically increases the security issues that the prisoners, prison guards, and administrative staff all face. Bringing illegal and prohibited items into prison dramatically undermines the overall safety and security of the facility, which is why the prison guards and staff work so hard to identify those that are trying to smuggle things in before they have a chance to successfully complete their “mission”.
An official at this particular prison, a Sgt. Peter Foster, mentioned that there were entire units of prison guards and police officers dedicated to stopping smuggling of contraband at every facility. Proactive stops of prison guests is just one method that these units use. They also work to patrol the perimeter of all prison facilities in the United Kingdom, particularly looking to stop civilians that park next to the fences and gates and throw contraband over the walls or drop them over through the use of drones.
Tomlinson was lucky that she got off with such a light slap on the wrist. If she attempts to do something like this again in the future it’s unlikely that she’ll be so lucky, though hopefully she will be able to keep her nose clean for the next 24 months and served her community service so that she walks away from this experience without having to spend time behind bars.