Man tried to smuggle drugs into Gartree Prison in his boxer shorts

The catergory B Gartree Prison in the Harborough district. ( FILE PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)
The catergory B Gartree Prison in the Harborough district. ( FILE PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER)

A man who tried to smuggle drugs into Gartree Prison in the Harborough district has been jailed.

Andrew Gavin Wildgoose of Farmstead Close, Sheffield, was stopped at Gartree Prison, in Gallow Field Road, on January 5 this year.

He had a package of drugs concealed inside his boxer shorts.

The drugs were tested and consisted of cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy) and buprenorphine (a heroin substitute).

Wildgoose told police he was given £150 to take a quantity of tablets into the prison.

The 32-year-old admitted possessing class A , B and C drugs with intent to supply them, and three charges of bringing a prohibited item into prison.

At Leicester Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) he was jailed for 18 months.

The Mail reported in 2007 how criminals were resorting to more and more ingenious methods to sneak drugs into the prison - including hiding heroin in the lining of boxer shorts.

Crooks had been using the postal system to try to slip Class A drugs into the jail, but prison security was foiling their efforts.

Sniffer dogs were being used to monitor the post coming into the prison.

Three wraps of heroin in boxer shorts, one wrap of heroin in a birthday card, a trace of heroin mixed with toothpaste found under a stamp were all found, a Freedom of Information request from the Mail revealed.

In 2008, the Mail was invited into the prison for a feature story to interview the prison’s security department which outlined its ‘ongoing battle to foil the smugglers’. Drugs had been found in Christmas cards and even inside a fake ruler.

In early 2008, in what was one of the prison’s biggest ever finds, heroin, cocaine, 155 grams of cannabis and two mobile phones with an inflated prison price of about £2,500 were found in a package thrown over the perimeter fence.

Drugs thrown over the fence – or sometimes even hidden inside tennis balls and hit over the fence – are typically wrapped in tissue paper and cellophane and have fish hooks or coat-hangers taped from the outside so inmates can ‘fish’ for the packages from their cells, the security officers explained to the Mail.

In a similar case to Wildgoose, another Sheffield man, Robert Davies, was caught trying to smuggle drugs into Gartree on October 3, 2007.

And in November 2011 three men were arrested for allegedly throwing drugs over the walls of Gartree Prison.

Officers from Leicestershire’s Road Traffic Unit arrested three men, all from Manchester, on the M1 near Lutterworth on November 27, 2011.

Gartree Prison opened in 1965 as a category C training prison but eventually changed its role and came within the high-security system, becoming a category B prison in 1992.

Since then the population of indeterminate sentenced prisoners has been growing and in 1997 its role changed to that of a main lifer centre.

It has a prison population now of 707 - more than double than the early 2000s – and 125 more than in 2008 when the Mail was last shown round the prison.

Story by Alex Blackwell.

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