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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July, 2004, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Prison missionary smuggled drugs
A Sikh missionary has been jailed for trying to smuggle class A drugs into Wellingborough Prison.

Gurcharn Singh, 55, of Thornton Street, Kempston, Bedfordshire, had refused to reveal who the heroin and cannabis were for or how he got hold of them.

He was sentenced to three years and nine months for smuggling the drugs, which were worth 1,200.

Singh, a Prison Service-authorised Sikh leader, pleaded guilty to carrying in the drugs in an airmail letter.

He told a hearing last month that he had been given the envelope by a man outside the Corn Exchange in Bedford town centre, but said he did not ask what was in it and could not name the man involved.

Cash found in car

He was caught with the envelope when entering the prison on 19 August last year.

In the letter was 4.4g of heroin - worth nearly 900 in prison - and nearly 300 of cannabis. A further 600 was found in Singh's BMW in the car park, said prosecution counsel Michael Joyce.

Rupert Mayo, defending, said Singh had admitted the offences in order to seek forgiveness within the Sikh faith but would not say who had given him the package or whether he knew it held drugs.

Although he is not a practising minister, Singh was licensed by the Sikh Missionary Society to visit prisons to see inmates of the same faith.

'Position of trust'

He had been visiting inmates one day each week since 2001.

Judge Richard Bray told Singh: "You were in a high position of trust.

"You gravely abused that position of trust by going into prison with a basket of drugs to sell to the prisoners.

Singh could also face a hearing under the new proceeds of crime legislation, in which the prosecution is seeking up to 22,000 said to have been made through the smuggling operation.

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