Prisoner had secret phone hidden in his cell

Ipswich Crown Court.

Aaron Vernege was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

An inmate at a Suffolk prison who was found to have an illicit mobile phone and charger in his cell has been given a suspended prison sentence.

The prohibited items were found during a search of Aaron Vernege’s cell at Highpoint prison on July 1 last year and when the phone was examined it was found it had been used to send 40 messages, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

When questioned about the phone, 34-year-old  Vernege, of Coppermill Lane, London, admitted using it to contact his mother and family.

James Wing, prosecuting, said: “It doesn’t appear to have been used, for example, to run a drugs operation from his prison cell."

Vernege admitted possessing a prohibited item in prison and sending a message from prison without authority.

He was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 100 hours' unpaid work

Sentencing him, Recorder Richard Atchley said he wanted to give Vernege, who has four children, the chance to break his cycle of offending but warned him that if he breached the suspended sentence order he would be brought back to court.