HMP Highpoint: Prison officer took in drugs for inmate

A SUFFOLK prison officer who claimed he was forced to smuggle heroin and cannabis into the jail where he was working after being threatened by a prisoner has been jailed for 28 months.

Alex Sheppard, who worked as a prison support officer at HMP Highpoint, at Stradishall, near Haverhill, said that Adam Bloy, who was serving a six-year sentence for robbery, told him he would hurt him or his family if he didn’t do as he was told.

Sheppard, 22, of John Davis Way, Watlington, near King’s Lynn, and Bloy, 25, of Woodwark Avenue, King’s Lynn, both admitted two offences of conspiring to supply heroin and cannabis on May 27 last year.

In his basis of plea Sheppard claimed he had only agreed to take the drugs into the prison after being threatened by Bloy, but this was denied by Bloy.

After hearing evidence to enable him to determine the basis on which to sentence both the defendants Judge John Holt said he was satisfied that Bloy had made threats to Sheppard to persuade him to bring drugs into the prison.

Jailing Sheppard for 28 months, less 178 days he has spent in custody, Judge Holt said, “You are a young man with no previous convictions.

“This was an isolated offence and caused by a lack of maturity.”

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He said he had also taken into consideration the view of an expert who had assessed Sheppard as being “a particularly compliant individual” who would change his views to comply with others even if he didn’t agree with them.

Jailing Bloy for six years, Judge John Holt said he had played the leading role in the offences and described his list of previous convictions as “pretty dreadful”. The court heard that on May 27 last year the governor of Highpoint Prison directed a search of all staff as they came on duty.

When Sheppard was approached by a prison officer he had said he had ”stuff on him” and two packages containing heroin and cannabis were found in a bag he was carrying.

When Sheppard was interviewed by the police, he claimed he had tried to take the drugs into prison after being threatened by Bloy.

Giving evidence, Bloy denied threatening Sheppard and claimed Sheppard had agreed to bring “things” into the prison for him in return for money.

Caroline Allison, for Sheppard, said her client had agreed to bring drugs into prison for Bloy as a result of intimidation falling short of duress.

She said Sheppard was remorseful and had confessed at the gates of the prison and had been open with the police.

She said her client had been held in high regard at work and his convictions would have an impact on any future career he took up.

Hugh Blake-James for Bloy said his client accepted arranging for drugs to be brought into prison by Sheppard, but denied threatening him.