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Jail for drug dealer who hid smuggled phone ‘up his backside’ during cell raid

(South Wales Police/PA)
(South Wales Police/PA)

A drug dealer who hid a mobile phone he had smuggled between two UK prisons “up his backside” as his cell was raided has been jailed.

Harri Pullen, 24, from Bettws, South Wales, was found to have mainly used the device to ring and message his mother and girlfriend from HMP Manchester and HMP Swansea.

Pullen, who had been jailed in October 2019 for drug-trafficking offences, was found in possession of the phone when his cell at HMP Swansea was searched in January this year.

Officers used a hand-held metal detector which revealed he had something within his “lower-back or rectal area”, Swansea Crown Court heard on Monday.

Swansea prison
Swansea prison (Alamy/PA)

He was taken for an X-ray which showed a “non-organic object secreted within his rectum in the shape of a small mobile phone”.

Pullen admitted he had brought the phone with him from Manchester by hiding it in the secret compartment of a tin, and tried to blame prison authorities for not finding it when they searched his belongings.

He said another inmate had offered him £3,000 for the mobile a week earlier because it was the only one in the prison.

After attempts to convince prison staff not to report him failed, he refused to retrieve the phone and was placed in a cell on his own. The next day broken pieces of the gadget were recovered from the floor.

An investigation analysing the phone’s data showed that he had made and received more than 2,500 calls and texts during his stay in both prisons.

The pay-as-you-go sim card had been topped up regularly by people outside the prison. Police are still investigating those suspected of being involved.

Pullen was released at the half-way point of his sentence on February 4 and was immediately re-arrested for the phone offences in what James Hartson QC, prosecuting, referred to as a “gate arrest”.

Magistrates released him the next day on conditional bail.

He was arrested again on April 23 in Newport after being caught driving while disqualified and with 17 wraps of cocaine and heroin.

Ben Waters, defending, said there was no evidence the phone had been used for criminality and his client had begun using it while in a prison a long distance from his family during a period of the Covid-19 pandemic when the time granted to inmates to use prison phones was limited.

Mr Waters said that when Pullen was released on bail he and his partner were threatened about a debt he owed and began drug dealing again to repay it.

Judge Paul Thomas QC said Pullen’s previous convictions for drug dealing and having a mobile phone in prison were serious aggravating factors, as well has his attempt to frustrate the search by barring the cell door and secreting the device “up his backside”.

The judge said: “The possession of mobiles in prisons cause real issues with order and discipline in those establishments.

“I hear what you say about having debt upon your release but that, I’m afraid, is a frequent consequence of getting involved in the dirty world of drug dealing.”

Judge Thomas sentenced Pullen to four years and nine months in prison, of which he will serve half in custody and the rest on licence.

He will also be banned from driving for 12 months after his release.

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