Teen jailed over 'professional' prison conspiracy after police storm his home

A judge hit out at the 'scourge' of drug and mobile phone smuggling into prisons as he sentenced a man found with cannabis, a drone, a machete and phones at his home.

The case followed a 'failed attempt' by smugglers with a drone to 'convey prohibited articles' into HMP Hindley , near Wigan, in May last year, the judge added. The fingerprints of Rogent Daley, 19, were 'found on the contraband seized by the police' at Hindley, which ultimately led police back to his home on Staycott Street in Moss Side, Manchester Crown Court was told.

The court heard police raided Daley's home in October last year on the basis of 'the intelligence that they had gathered about his criminality'.

READ MORE: Finally, the full truth of Greater Manchester teacher Rebecca Joynes' sex crimes can be told

The judge, Recorder Jeremy Lasker, said the search revealed Daley's involvement in a 'significant' cannabis supply operation and his involvement in 'conspiracies to smuggle drugs and phones into prison'.

The court heard 18 bars of cannabis were found in total, which the judge said were 'destined to be smuggled by air, by drone, into prison'. 'No less than' 20 mobile phones small enough to be easily concealed were also discovered by police, together with a drone, 148 grams of 'flowering cannabis' and drug equipment, £16,000 in cash, a machete and 'HMP property including bags and tags', the court heard.

"Drugs and mobile phones in prison are a scourge," said Recorder Lasker. "They are highly valued. The evidence in this case is that the value of those commodities [seized from Daley's flat] in prison is between £60,000 and £70,000."

Other mobile phones also found at Daley's home indicated he was dealing to members of the public. The court heard 'flare messages' advertising deals were found on them.

The court heard Daley was arrested, charged and remanded in custody at Forest Bank prison in Salford. A photograph of the interior of a prison cell on Daley's Instagram account 'came to the attention of the authorities' at Forest Bank, prompting a search of his call, the court heard. A mobile phone and a mobile phone charger were then found.

Rogent Daley
Rogent Daley

Recorder Lasker said there was a 'real likelihood' that others, possibly older and more criminally experienced, were involved in the smuggling plot. But Daley, he added, was shown in the evidence to have an 'intention' to smuggle phones and drugs into prison.

"This was a professional set up using sophisticated drone equipment," added the judge to Daley at a sentencing hearing on Friday. "I also bear in mind you had that machete - no doubt as protection for your stash of drugs."

He said, however, that his offending was 'likely to be linked' to an older relative of his who is serving a prison sentence. Daley pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis; possession with intent to supply cannabis; possession of criminal property, namely cash; conspiracy to convey cannabis into, or out of, prison; conspiracy to convey a mobile phone into, or out of, prison; possession of an iPhone charger in prison and possession of an iPhone in prison.

HMP Hindley -Credit:Adam Vaughan
HMP Hindley -Credit:Adam Vaughan

The last two charges relate to the period when Daley was on remand at Forest Bank prison for the other five offences.

Laura Broome, defending, said Daley was 17 or 18 at the time of the offending. "He relays regret and remorse," she said, adding that he began selling cannabis 'to make some money'. "It is clearly not Mr Daley's own operation," Ms Broome added. "He accepts that he will have to face the consequences."

Daley was jailed for 32 months.

The case comes after the M.E.N. told in March how inexperienced prison officers at HMP Hindley were said by inspectors to have been struggling to deal with a 'near-tsunami' of drugs. Tests found that more than half the inmates at HMP Hindley 'were on drugs at any one time'.

The jail also faces ongoing problems with 'very high' levels of violence, self-harm and links to organised crime. In a damning report HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor said HMP Hindley faces an 'uphill battle' and that overall was 'still not safe enough'.

Hindley is a category C training and resettlement prison for up to 600 men, of whom about a third are aged under 25.

A Prison Service spokesperson said in response to the report: "We have a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in prison and through our new drug-free units – like the one at HMP Hindley – we are helping the highest-ever proportion of offenders overcome their addiction. We are also boosting training for staff to better spot and support those with substance misuse issues while our £100m investment in tough security measures such as X-ray body scanners is stopping more illicit drugs from entering jails in the first place."