A Wiltshire prison guard has been jailed for three years for smuggling drugs - in her underwear. 

Erlestoke prison received a tip off that guard Hannah Gaves was smuggling items into the jail. 

On Sunday, January 27 last year, the 27-year-old was stopped on her way into work and searched. She had cocaine stashed in her underwear and also had black plastic bags of cannabis, five packets of tobacco and Rizla cigarette papers.

A search of her home in Chippenham uncovered cash and more cannabis. 

Swindon Advertiser:

Hannah Gaves Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

The guard was suspected of having had what police termed an "inappropriate relationship" with one of the inmates, on whose behalf she was said to have smuggled items. A search of his cell found tobacco and a sim card. 

Gaves, of Park End Road, Gloucester, admitted possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis and attempting to bring tobacco into prison.

At a hearing at Salisbury Crown Court on Friday, Judge Keith Cutler sentenced her to three years imprisonment. She must pay a £170 victim surcharge. 

Swindon Advertiser:

Cannabis and cocaine found on Gaves Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Welcoming the sentence, Det Sgt Garry Epps said: "There is simply no tolerance for the behaviour shown by Gaves in this case.

"The custodial sentence that has been given further highlights the severity of Gaves' actions and we hope acts as a deterrent to anyone who thinks they may be able to get away with anything similar.

"There is no excuse for ever falling into such activities and we will always act strongly against anyone attempting to take drugs or any form of contraband into our prisons."

Insp Chris Martin added: "We will always act on intelligence given to us and not only patrol the parameters of the prison robustly but also the comings and goings inside the prison as well.

"This case highlights the ongoing partnership work between Wiltshire Police and staff at HMP Erlestoke to disrupt the illegal supply of drugs into the prison."

Drugs in prison

Earlier this month, Ministry of Justice figures showed more drugs were being found by Erlestoke guards.

99 searches uncovered drugs within HMP Erlestoke in the year to March 2020 – significantly up from 76 the previous year.

Over the same period, 17 per cent of the mandatory drug tests conducted in the prison returned a positive result, while in 2018-19, the figure stood at 20 per cent.

Swindon Advertiser:

Erlestoke prison stock images Picture: GAZETTE AND HERALD

The figures include psychoactive substances, the abuse of which have increasingly become a concern for prison staff nationally, as well as so-called traditional drugs such as cannabis and methadone.

The most common single drug type found to have been taken in Erlestoke prison was cannabis, which was found in a third of samples.

Got a Swindon Adver website account? Sign up for our new Court and Crime email newsletter on your My Account page.