A WHEELCHAIR-bound grandmother who tried to smuggle drugs inside her vagina into Durham prison for two killers has been jailed.

June Brogden, whose grandsons Anthony Middleton and David Sowerby, are serving life sentences for murder, pleaded guilty but claimed she was the victim of an elaborate set-up.

However, Judge Christopher Prince said he "had no hesitation in determining that the account you gave was untrue".

Brogden, 60, from Hartlepool, smuggled 2.73g of Herbal Spice, a cannabis-type so called "legal high" - prohibited in prison - and 354mg of heroin substitute Subutex, a Class C controlled drug, into the prison, internally.

Ian West, prosecuting, said: "On 12th February, 2015, Mr Brogden was visiting her two grandsons, both serving life sentences in HMP Durham.

"Mrs Brogden was searched by officers and found she had concealed in her vagina a small plastic covered item.

"The leggings Mrs Brogden was wearing were found to have a small hole in the crotch area, thought to have been made purposely to conceal the package."

Middleton, then 21, and his 24-year-old half-brother Sowerby, both of Hartlepool, are serving life sentences for the axe killing of Hartlepool boxer Mark Denton at a house party in the town on New Year's Eve, 2013.

Durham Crown Court heard that Brogden had been jailed for three years in 1997 for possession, with intent to supply, LSD. In that case she had also hidden the drugs in her vagina.

In mitigation, Louise Harrison said Brogden's family, who care for her, provided much-needed constant emotional support, which they would not be able to do as much if she was jailed.

"As you are aware this is a very poorly lady," she said.

Brogden had initially claimed she received a package from two men, who she believed to be associates of murder victim Mark Denton, who threatened to harm her grandsons if she did not smuggle the package into Durham. But the judge rejected her account.

Sentencing her via videolink from Durham Crown Court to the wheelchair-accessible Teesside Magistrates Court today (Thursday, May 26), Judge Christopher Prince said he had taken into account her health problems, which include a lung condition, reduced mobility and anxiety, and had ensured Low Newton Prison was able to accommodate her.

He said: "Save in the most exceptional circumstances those who convey drugs into prison will receive custodial sentences.

"It is important that those who do so receive punishment. It is important that those who consider doing so are deterred from so doing by the knowledge that the courts would send them to prison,.

"Were I to allow you to forfeit an immediate custodial sentence that would not deter people of age and ill health conveying drugs into prisons. It also may encourage people to encourage those who are of an age or ill health to do so on their behalf."