AN ex-inmate’s bid to throw contraband into a prison was thwarted as the “wrong person” came across the aerial delivery.

Paul Jackson hurled a package, containing a mix of drugs plus mini mobile phones, over Durham Prison’s external wall, at 10am on August 7, last year.

But Durham Crown Court heard that a prison officer heard something drop and a colleague retrieved the package.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said it was found to contain a quantity of cannabis and a mix of various class C drugs, plus four thumb-sized mobile phones, with SIM cards and chargers.

Jackson was arrested and denied throwing the package but, asked if his dna might be found on any items in it, he said he had previously given some of the drugs to others.

He claimed someone dropped the contents at his home and he was asked to package them.

A relative of Jackson was said to be at at the prison at the time.

Police estimated the value of the drugs, in prison terms, were between £6,000 and £8,500, while the phones could net anything from £3,900 to £4,700.

Despite his initial denials, the 45-year-old defendant, formerly from the North-East, but now living in Derby, admitted two counts of conveying prohibited items into prison at a hearing earlier this week.

The sentencing hearing was told he has, “a significant” criminal record, but the most recent past offence dates from 2015.

Brian Russell, mitigating, said during recent years the defendant has taken “significant steps” to address his drug misuse, behind his previous offending, including voluntarily attending Narcotics Anonymous.

Mr Russell said the offence was committed at a time Jackson briefly relapsed due to the pandemic and lockdown, making accessing the various drug agencies more difficult.

Having read a “helpful” probation report, highlighting Jackson’s progress, Recorder Craig Hassall QC said he was “just persuaded” to suspend the 18-month prison sentence for two years, but he warned him that any breach would see him back behind bars.