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Three people, including a prison officer, have been sentenced for taking prohibited items into prison.
Christopher Harman, 36, of Pentons Close, Holybourne, Alton, Liam Currell, 31 currently residing at HMP Lewes and Stephanie Burt, 30, of Stanley Green Road, Poole, Dorset, were sentenced at Winchester Crown Court yesterday (Monday 30 January) after pleading guilty to conspiracy to convey List A articles (steroids) into HMP Winchester and conspiracy to convey List B articles (phones) into HMP Winchester at a previous hearing.
In June 2021, officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Northern Investigation Team launched an investigation after HMP Winchester reported that they had noticed an increased amount of contraband entering the prison, including mobile phones.
The investigation later led to the arrests of Liam Currell, a serving prisoner, his partner Stephanie Burt and Christopher Harman, a Prison Officer at HMP Winchester.
The court heard that between May and August 2021, the three conspired to take steroids (List A articles) and mobile phones (List B articles) amongst other prohibited items into HMP Winchester as requested by Currell, who was using a mobile phone from his cell to communicate with Harman and Burt.
As part of the investigation, officers searched the homes and cars belonging to Burt and Harman, and seized a number of mobile phones, steroids and syringes, some of which matched those found in prison.
Phone analysis revealed that Harman and Burt had communicated over 115 times between May 2021 and August 2021 and they had arranged to meet on nine occasions for Burt to hand Harman the packages to take into prison.
During the search of Burt’s property, officers found mobile phone receipts, cash and mobile phone boxes, which matched mobile phones located inside the prison. On one occasion, Harman was captured on the prison’s CCTV going into Currell’s cell with a bag and leaving moments later without it.
Currell, Burt and Harman were subsequently charged with two counts of conspiracy to convey List A (steroids) and List B articles (mobile phones) into prison.
Appearing at Winchester Crown Court yesterday (Monday 30 January) they were sentenced to the following:
Detective Sergeant Sarah Page from the Northern Investigation Team said “This was a long and thorough investigation to identify those responsible for taking mobile phones, steroids and other prohibited items into Winchester prison and bring them to justice.
“Prohibited items are prohibited for a reason. Drugs including steroids pose a risk to the health and safety of prisoners and staff, and mobile phones enable prisoners to continue committing crimes.
“During the investigation we seized phones from inside the prison that were bought by Burt but had fell into the hands of other serving prisoners, awaiting trial for serious offences.
“Harman was a prison officer and had a duty of care to all prisoners and colleagues. He abused his position by bringing steroids and mobile phones into the prison, which put people at risk and enabled crimes to be carried out from inside the prison.
“We are committed to working with colleagues at the prison to identify corruption and will deal robustly with anyone found to be involved and bring them to justice.”
Anyone who has any concerns or information relating to suspected criminal activity should contact us on 101 or online at https://www.hampshire.police.uk/.
Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/