A PRISON officer has been jailed for six years after he admitted trying to smuggle drugs and mobile phones to an inmate in order to pay off a £300 gambling debt.
David Bentley, 38, tried to sneak the contraband into Risley jail, near Warrington, inside two sealed bags of Kettle crisps on Christmas Eve last year.
A routine search by a senior officer noted the heavy weight of the bags.
They were opened and the first was found to contain two large blocks of cannabis resin and a mobile phone.
The second contained another block of cannabis, some coloured pills and three mobile phones.
Bentley, of Runcorn, who had been a prison officer for three years, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Warrington Magistrates Court to possession of cannabis with intent to supply and conveying an article, namely four mobile phones, to a prisoner.
On Friday he was sentenced to six years jail at Warrington Crown Court.
Susan Tickle, prosecuting, said: 'Mr Bentley initially told police he had taken the packages in at the request of a prisoner on his wing to whom he owed £300 in gambling debts.
'He said he thought they contained mobile phones and slimming pills. He said the packages were already sealed when he collected them.'
Bentley also told officers he was smuggling the contraband in exchange for the cancellation of the debt, information about a recent incident in the prison and the name of another prison officer dealing drugs on a different wing.
David Kitty, defending, said: 'Mr Bentley has assured me this was a silly, snap decision.'
Prison Officers' Association national executive North West committee chairman Tom Robinson said: 'We would not support a prison officer prepared to do anything like that because it undermines everything we do.'