'The greatest threat to the prison system': Mum locked up for smuggling spice inside bra into Armley jail

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A mum has been locked up for almost three years for smuggling spice hidden inside her bra into Armley jail.

Kate Morton was handed the sentence by a judge who described the synthetic drug as the "greatest threat to the prison system."

Leeds Crown Court

Leeds Crown Court

Morton smuggled a single sheet of A4 paper which contained a child's drawing and had been soaked in spice.

Leeds Crown Court heard the sheet could have been cut up into one centimetre squares then sold for between £2.50 and £5 each.

The minimum value of the paper would have been £1,500 if it had made its way into the jail.

Morton was spotted by prison staff taking the paper out of her bra and placing it inside a crisp packet during a visit to her boyfriend on August 25, 2017.

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She was taken to one side and removed from the visiting hall.

Morton still had the crisp packet in her hand and dropped it on the floor outside.

The packet contained a folded piece of paper with coloured drawings on wrapped in clingfilm.

Morton, of The Circle, Swindon, pleaded guilty to conveying a List A article into prison.

She was jailed for two years, eight months.

Morton's case was adjourned last week as "an act of mercy" so she could attend her mother's funeral.

Jailing her, Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said he was imposing the sentence as a deterrent to others due to the impact the drug was having on the country's prisons.

He said: "This drug, synthetic cannabis, is a drug which causes huge problems within the prison environment.

"It turns well behaved prisoners into violent and unmanageable detainees.

"The drug itself causes catastrophic harm and it widely regarded as the greatest threat to the prison system.

"It is pushing the British prison system to its limit."

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Aubrey Sampson, mitigating, said Morton had only been in a relationship with the prisoner for four weeks and had been pressured into taking the drug into the jail.

Mr Sampson said: "He promised her the Earth.

"He asked her to pick up the picture which had been done by his niece.

"She effectively closed her eyes to the fact (that it contained drugs)"

The judge said: "Your motive might have been to please your boyfriend but you knew what you were doing was wrong.

"The only pressure brought to bear on you was emotional."