Woman tried to smuggle drugs into South Yorkshire prison in condom

A woman who tried to smuggle drugs into a South Yorkshire prison in a condom received two separate sentences before her case finally reached Sheffield Crown Court.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 12:57 pm

Maria Hazelgrave's behaviour aroused suspicion when she visited an inmate at HMP Lindholme, at 3.30pm, on May 29, 2019, said prosecutor Andrew Petterson.

Prison staff found the inmate had part of a broken condom on him and a package, containing £2,300 of the synthetic drug MDMB, £450 of cannabis, and 14 grams of nicotine was later recovered from Hazelgrave.

When she was interviewed the next day, she said she was offered money to bring the package into prison as she was strugging financially. The court heard she has previous convictions for theft and was serving a community order at the time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

HMP Lindholme

Rebecca Tanner, mitigating, said “things have progressed in such a positive fashion” that she invited the judge to consider a suspended sentence.

"There is clearly a background of drug dependency," she said. "But significant progress has been made."

She said a "small lapse, rather than a relapse," into heroin led Hazelgrave to miss a court hearing last year.

She has been in her cell at HMP New Hall for 24 hours a day with the exception of 15 minutes, Ms Tanner said, and has been unable to shower for the last three days.

Hazelgrave, 36, of Larkhill Road, Leeds, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

The court heard she received a custodial sentence and a suspended sentence since the offences in May 2019.

Judge David Dixon said the police and the CPS had “completely failed in their responsibilities.”

He told her: "There is no good reason why you were not brought before the court perhaps before the end of 2019. If you had there is a reasonable prospect you would have been released by now."

But he added that “drugs cause untold misery in prison.”

"You have endured a small taste of what prison is like at the moment,” he said. “You know that if you breach what I am about to put in place you will go back.”

He sentenced Hazelgrave to 14 months, suspended for two years, with 15 rehabilitation days and a six month drug programme.

Read the latest cases from Sheffield Crown Court here.

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you. Subscribe here https://bit.ly/2YqMXgK so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.