England

Prisons drone-delivery drugs plot: Eleven charged

HMP Hewell sign Image copyright Google
Image caption The plot concerns a number of West Midlands prisons, including HMP Hewell

Eleven people have been charged over the smuggling of drugs and weapons into prisons - in some cases using drones to transport items.

The alleged offences took place between July 2015 and January 2017.

The conspiracy is said to involve four prisons - Hewell in Redditch, Worcestershire, HMP Birmingham in Winson Green, Stoke Heath in Shropshire and Featherstone in Wolverhampton.

Nine men and two women are due to appear before magistrates on 22 May.

West Mercia Police said while some of the items were thrown over prison walls, others were flown in via drones.

Ten people have been charged with five counts of conspiring to supply prohibited items into prisons:

  • Mervyn Foster, 37, from High Street, Princes End, Tipton, West Midlands
  • Yvonne Hay, 42, from Bloxwich Road, Walsall
  • Craig Hickenbottom, 34, formerly of HMP Hewell, Redditch
  • John Hickenbottom, 50, formerly of HMP Hewell, Redditch
  • Lisa Hodgetts, 32, from Lye Cross Road, Tividale, Oldbury, West Midlands
  • Terry Leach, 19, from Wednesbury Oak Road, Tipton
  • John Quinn, 35, from Swancroft Road, Tipton
  • Sanjay Patel, 37, of no fixed abode
  • Ashley Rollinson, 21, from Highgate Road, Dudley, West Midlands
  • Francis Ward, 45 from Bloxwich Road, Walsall

A further man, Artaf Hussain, 30, from Slater Street, Tipton, has been charged with one count of conspiring to supply prohibited articles into prisons and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

They have all been bailed to appear at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

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