Leeds prisoner made £5,000 in ‘spice’ jail racket

Nicholas Owen.
Nicholas Owen.

A Prisoner made £5,000 from selling the synthetic cannabis drug ‘spice’ to other inmates at Armley jail.

A court heard Nicholas Owen, 40, made the sum in eight months while being held at the Leeds prison. Owen was also able to make arrangements to have the money sent to his 21-year-old girlfriend Becky Shaw.

Leeds Crown Court heard prison officers became suspicious that Owen had been selling spice and searched his cell in April this year. They found mobile phones and documents containing the details of Shaw’s Yorkshire Bank account.

Officers also found ‘dealer lists’ containing the names of inmates who had bought the drug and the sums of money owed

Shaw was then arrested and her mobile phone was seized. The phones were analysed and texts were recovered referring to money being transferred from Owen to Shaw. One read: “OK love, trying to think how to make some cash for you.”

Another read: “Should be 30 or 40 through the letter box when you get in.” Nicoleta Alistari, prosecuting, said Shaw worked part time and had been financially dependent on Owen before he was sent to custody.

The court heard Owen’s drug money was transferred to Shaw’s online account via a third party or arrangements were made for another person to deliver cash to her. Owen pleaded guilty to money laundering and an offence of dangerous driving, which he had originally been remanded in custody for. He was given a 27-month prison sentence.

Shaw, of Smawthorne Avenue, Castleford, pleaded guilty to money laundering. She was given a ten-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work. The court heard Shaw and Owen are no longer in a relationship.

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