Duo smuggled drugs into prison in spines of books

Cocaine and heroin was being brought into Saughton Prison. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Cocaine and heroin was being brought into Saughton Prison. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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DRUG dealers who smuggled cocaine and heroin into Saughton prison in the spines of books have been jailed following a joint operation by police and jail bosses.

Wayne Ernest Johnston, 39, and David Dunbar, 22, were caught after £16,500 of heroin and £1000 of cocaine was sneaked into the jail.

Johnston was found guilty in the supply of heroin and cocaine and sentenced to two years and six months at the High Court in Edinburgh last week, while Dunbar was convicted of heroin supply and sentenced to two years.

Meanwhile, a third man was identified through the Prison Watch scheme for throwing packages containing drugs and mobile phones over the jail walls.

Colin Valentine, 37, was spotted tossing packages over the walls on “numerous occasions” during last year. He also appeared at the High Court last week and was sentenced to 16 months.

Pc Tracey Gunn, prison link officer at Saughton, said: “These lengthy sentences are the result of an operation into an organised crime group linked to HMP Edinburgh.

“Their conviction is testament to the joint work of police, the prison service and the Crown Office in tackling organised crime within prisons.”

Teresa Medhurst, governor of HMP Edinburgh, said: “These convictions are clear evidence of the strong partnership we have with Police Scotland and the resounding success of our joint Prison Watch initiative.

“I hope this sends a strong message that we remain committed to using all methods at our disposal to tackle contraband in prisons, and that there will be severe repercussions for those who attempt to introduce such items.”

The Prison Watch scheme was launched in November 2011 to recruit the public to keep an eye on Saughton jail in a neighbourhood watch-style scheme.

Nearby residents are urged to report suspicious activity around the facility and help stem the flood of drugs and phones being smuggled inside.

The scheme, which was the first of its kind in Scotland, has a special hotline number to allow people to contact the authorities.

A 76 per cent drop in the volume of contraband entering the prison was recorded in the first six months of the pilot.

Smugglers often throw stashes of drugs, phones and other contraband over the prison’s boundary walls. Hiding drugs behind postage stamps and sewing them into boxer shorts have been among the methods used to try to smuggle drugs inside.

The Prison Watch service also encourages visitors to the jail to report any suspected smuggling while attending to see friends and relatives.

Derek McLeod and Kevin Dodd from the prison, Martin Birrell of the Scottish Prison Service, and Inspector Irene Ralston of the then Lothian and Borders Police, travelled to Buckingham Palace last March to pick up an award from The Butler Trust recognising the scheme’s success.

Last May, solicitor David Blair Wilson was jailed for four years after being caught trying to smuggle phones and drugs into Saughton Prison.

Blair Wilson was found by police officers to have phones, diazepam tablets and other contraband items in his Vauxhall in the prison car park.