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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Prison officer in drug bid jailed
Swaleside Prison
The officer was arrested by police called to Swaleside Prison
A prison officer who tried to smuggle cannabis to an inmate on his wing has been jailed for two years.

Martin Nelson, 25, the son of a prison governor, expected to be paid 1,000 for supplying the drug. At the time he had 4,000 of credit card debt.

Nelson, of Minster Drive, Minster, Kent pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply at Swaleside Prison on the Isle of Sheppey.

Maidstone Crown Court heard he was caught with 991g (35oz) of the drug.

It was found during a routine search when he arrived for work on 11 January.

Judge John McDonald said Nelson, who resigned from his job the same day, had brought disgrace to his family.

"The really very sad aggravating feature is that you were a prison officer and your father is a prison governor," he told him.

He will not have an easy time as a prisoner
Defence counsel Robert O'Sullivan

The court was told Nelson initially agreed to take a mobile phone into the Category B training prison.

He collected the phone from a man at Bluewater shopping centre, then discovered the box also contained the drug.

But he still tried to take it into the prison where he had worked for 17 months.

In mitigation, Robert O'Sullivan said Nelson was worn down by continued requests from the prisoner.

After he found the cannabis he spoke to the inmate again, who told him it was too late to back out.

"He will not have an easy time as a prisoner," said Mr O'Sullivan.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it was "unlikely" Nelson would serve his sentence at Swaleside.

Judge MacDonald said if he had been found guilty following a trial he would have been given three years in prison.

He also took into account Nelson's previous good character, that he was willing to name the intended recipient of the drugs and his "genuine remorse".


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