Dodgy prison officer smuggled contraband to Preston gunman behind Euro 2020 revenge shooting

Paul Mathieson
Paul Mathieson -Credit:Lancs Police

A Prison Officer who was caught trying to smuggle cannabis to a Preston gunman is facing time behind bars.

James Gregson, 21, has been jailed for two years and four months after admitting he conspired with Paul Matheson, 41, and Stuart Matheson, 47, to take cannabis and mobile phones into HMP Preston. Gregson also admitted converting criminal property.

The prison officer was arrested on November 8, 2022, after he was caught by prison staff attempting to smuggle cannabis and mobile phones into the prison for Matheson, who was jailed in October 2022 for his role in a revenge shooting in Ingol, Preston.


The NWROCU's Anti-Corruption Unit began an investigation and found evidence that Gregson had obtained the drugs and phones from Matheson’s older brother Stuart Matheson, during several meetings in October and November 2022.

Following Gregson’s arrest, NWROCU officers searched his home in Grasmere Avenue, Leyland, and uncovered a large quantity of cash which Gregson later admitted was his payment for smuggling the items into prison.

All three men appeared at Preston Crown Court on Thursday May 2. Paul Matheson, of Houldsworth Road, Preston, was jailed for a further 20 months. Stuart Matheson, of Ashfield, Preston, was jailed for nine months suspended for 12 months for his involvement.

HMP Preston -Credit:Thomas Temple / Newsteam
HMP Preston -Credit:Thomas Temple / Newsteam

Detective Chief Inspector Chris McClellan from the NWROCU’s Prison Corruption Team said: “This was a joint investigation between our Prison Anti-Corruption Unit, HMPPS’ Counter Corruption Unit, and HMP Preston.

“The conveyance of any prohibited articles into prisons presents a risk to both staff and prisoners. In particular, the consumption of drugs within a prison can have a detrimental effect on the good order and discipline of the establishment and can be linked to instances of violence, self-harm, bullying and debt”.

“Any HMPPS staff member found to be financially benefitting from smuggling items into prisons will be investigated and put before the courts and their ill-gotten gains forfeited”.

“We want to reassure the honest, dedicated, and hardworking prison staff that we will continue to take action against people who choose to engage in corrupt activity, together with HMPPS Counter Corruption Unit and prisons across the region.

“We encourage anyone who has information about corruption in our prisons to report it.”

Paul Matheson and his accomplice shot a man through the front door of his mother's house after he won a pub fight earlier on the day England played Italy in the Euro 2020 final. The pair claimed they were police officers when they arrived at the address in Bowlingfield, Preston. Victim Jamie Robinson was then shot through the front door with a 9mm handgun.

After losing in a scrap with the victim on July 11, 2021, Matheson contacted a friend before they armed themselves and made their way to find their target. The bullet injured their victim's arm before going through his abdomen and fracturing his hip.

The 32-year-old suffered severe internal injuries and lost up to two litres of blood. A major inquiry was launched by detectives from the Force Major Investigation Team who pieced together the movements of Matheson by examining their mobile phones and trawling through CCTV to track the vehicles.