A HEROIN addict smuggled the class A drug into prison for her own use when she was jailed for the first time.

Amanda Dodds was wrongly told it could take up to five days to be put on a methadone programme, for recovering heroin addicts, when an inmate is admitted behind bars for the first time.

But after Teesside magistrates imposed a 14-week sentence on Dodds for shoplifting, on January 28, she was strip-searched the following day, on arrival at Durham’s Low Newton Prison.

Durham Crown Court heard that a small plastic egg was recovered containing a £20 bag of heroin and eight sleeping pills.

Thirty-three-year-old Dodds, of Maltby Street, Middlesbrough, who was released on licence midway through that sentence, on Monday (March 17), yesterday (Tuesday March 18) appeared at the crown court and admitted bringing a prohibited item into prison.

The court heard the defendant has been a heroin addict for 12 years and turned to shoplifting to fund her habit, resulting in her first prison sentence, in January.

But, Jennifer Coxon, mitigating, said Dodds remained heroin free during her seven weeks in Low Newton, having been on a methadone programme to reduce her desire for the drug and hopes to now rid herself of her addiction completely.

Judge Christopher Prince told Dodds: “There came a time when a court had to send you to prison.

“You thought you wouldn’t receive treatment to assist your drug problem on admission to prison, but you were wrong.

“But there was no great sophistication in the manner by which you secreted the drugs into prison and it’s generally recognised a first spell in custody can generally shake people into a determination to never go in again.

“I hope that is the case with yourself.”

He imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, during which she will undergo probation supervision, including a drug rehabilitation programme.