Three year sentence for man who took drugs into prison

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A Lisburn man who was caught with drugs in Magilligan prison has been jailed for three years.

Thomas Samuel Rodgers, with an address of Rathvarna Drive, Lisburn, was a sentenced prisoner when he was caught with cannabis and Fentanyl.

The 34-year-old pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply and possessing Fentanyl with intent to supply.

He also admitted simple possession of a class B drug in January 2014.

Londonderry Crown Court heard Rodgers was an enhanced prisoner and was granted a weekend release.

He returned to the prison on January 16 and was searched with the assistance of a drugs dog.

The court was told the dog froze during this search, indicating to it’s handler it detected the presence of drugs.

A short time later officers searched the defendant and the cell. They found balled up toilet paper, rolled up in a t-shirt in the cell.

Inside this they also discovered several packages containing drugs.

The court was told over 90 grams of cannabis was found and 15 Fentanyl patches.

It was revealed the drugs would have a value inside the prison of between £4,680 and £8,310. During interview, Rodgers claimed he had been ‘pressured’ into bringing the drugs into the prison.

A defence solicitor said Rodgers was pressured into doing this and if he refused would have received a beating.

Passing sentence, Judge Gemma Loughran said these are ‘serious offences’.

She said ‘deterrent sentences have to be imposed on those who take drugs into prison.’

“They are a form of currency with much greater value than on the streets. They are also a danger to prison discipline’.

The judge added: ‘Very often time in prison may be a time when someone has an opportunity to look at his or her drug abuse and take the time in prison to withdraw from that abuse.

‘If drugs are freely available in prison that opportunity is lost’.

She imposed a determinate sentence of three years, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.