A FATHER-OF-SIX has been jailed after he tried to smuggle a mobile phone into prison to help his son get through a “rough time” whilst behind bars.

Gary Drummond from Darlington claimed he was pressured to sneak the device into Northumberland Prison in February after threats with made to his criminal son.

The 37-year-old hid the phone, a charger, tobacco and papers in his underwear but was caught trying to hand it over to his son – who was placed in special protection just days later after being attacked by another inmate.

Teesside Crown Court heard the following month Drummond was also caught by police with a £8,000 stolen motorbike – but the father-of-six claimed he was unaware it was stolen and was intimidated into storing the vehicle in his garage.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said: “The defendant went to visit his son who was an inmate at Northumberland Prison on February 22 this year. During the visit the support officer saw the defendant trying to pass a concealed item to his son.

“He was searched and nothing was found. He then said ‘I might as well get it out, you are going to find it anyway’ and reached into his underwear. He handed over a mobile phone, charger, papers and a small amount of tobacco.

“He said he shouldn’t have done it but he wanted to help his son. He said he knew the items were illegal and he was sorry.”

Ms Haigh added the following month Drummond was spotted by a police officer wheeling a black and pink painted motorbike out of his garage in Darlington. When probed he claimed someone threatened to “smash his face in” if he did not agree to store the £8,000 motorbike which was stolen from a man weeks earlier.

But Stephen Constantine, defending, said Drummond was pressured into smuggling the mobile phone and other items to help his son who was being bullied inside prison. He was later placed under special protection after being attacked by another inmate.

He said: “His son was in prison, he had not been in prison before and was having a rough time. He was being bullied and threatened. Mr Drummond was given the packet and told to give it to the son and if he didn’t then the son would suffer.

“He knew he shouldn’t do it but he had no option. Two days after this his son was attacked by someone with a sharp weapon and suffered slash wounds.”

Mr Constantine added Drummond was stopped by police weeks later while he was in the process of returning the motorbike after he became suspicious it may have been stolen.

He said: “When asked why he didn’t report his suspicions to the police he said, where he lives, if he did that your family and property would suffer and he picked the lesser of two evils.”

Drummond, of Westbrook Villas, Darlington, pleaded guilty to two counts of transferring a prohibited item into prison and one count of handling stolen goods. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.