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Net closes on Pentonville Prison drone drugs

PC is praised for detective work that recovered £170k contraband haul

01 June, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

PC Adam Crossan receives his com­mendation from Detective Chief Super­intendent Iain Raphael

THE meticulous police work needed to cut the number of drugs and phones smuggled into Pentonville Prison has been revealed in full detail.

Police top brass ran through the increasingly ambitious attempts to get goods to inmates at the Caledonian Road jail as they commended a patrol officer for his detective work.

They include throwing packages over the wall, running a clothes line-style operation to breach security and the use of modern technology by deploying drones – remotely-controlled flying devices.

Senior officers said that, even though police had recovered more than £170,000 of drugs and phones, it was still “the tip of the iceberg”.

PC Adam Crossan was handed a commendation certificate at a ceremony at the British Library on Friday for trying to keep track of the culprits operating outside the prison wall.

Superintendent Nick Davies said: “He started speaking to residents and visiting the sites where the throw-overs were being taken from. He did patrols in uniform and in plain clothes and instantly started to figure out what was going on. We saw a significant drop in the number of throw-overs.”

He added: “Adam also did several forensic submissions around drones and phones and managed to identify various suspects throughout his inquiries. A very complex picture of organised crime across London and the Home Counties emerged.”

Pentonville Prison

PC Crossan spotted bags being hauled across the wall from a string in Wheelwright Street and on another occasion intercepted two crash-landed drones. Crucial DNA ­taken from the machines led to arrests.

Superintendent Davies said: “This is really only scratching the surface of this large investigation. The operation now ended has resulted in five cannabis warnings, 140 hours of community service, over £1,000 in fines, a number of disorder notices and over 20 years in imprisonment for various offences.

“He has seized over £174,000 worth of drugs, phones and drones.”

Earlier this month, it was revealed that 15,000 mobile phones and sim cards were confiscated in UK prisons last year.

In March, justice secretary David Gauke announced a new unit had been set up to tackle organised crime inside prisons.

He warned that drugs – including the synthetic cannabis known as Spice which can cause users to have psychotic episodes and seizures – were being “ordered with a ‘Deliveroo-style’ responsiveness on tiny mobile phones from prison cells and delivered by drones direct to cell windows”.

Mr Gauke said: “We are taking action to bolster our defences at the prison gate and going after organised criminal gangs. I want them to know that as a result of the action we are taking, they have no place to hide.”

Last month, Britain’s longest-serving prisoner, John Massey, was released after a lifetime in the jail system, including time inside Pentonville. He warned: “The explosion of drugs like heroin is a real problem today, as is the use of highs like Spice. It makes a volatile situation much worse.”

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