A WOMAN who developed a reputation as, “a professional prison visitor”, is now behind bars herself, after receiving a 45-month jail sentence.

Jamie Lee Mahon earned a lucrative income from the “substantial enterprise”, smuggling mainly drugs, but also phone SIM cards, during visits to inmates in prisons across the country.

Durham Crown Court heard she even boasted in messages to “customers” requesting her services: “I love smuggling drugs into jail”.

The court was told there were up to 30 prisoners she arranged to visit, charging between £250 and £1,000 per trip, depending on the prison and what she was asked to pass over.

The Northern Echo:

Jamie Lee Mahon was arrested trying to pass drugs package to an inmate on a visit to HMP Frankland, Durham, in November 2019

She would make prior, apparently innocent visits, without contraband, to “size up” security before the actual trip with the drugs packages, which have substantially higher value in prison environment than on the street.

Despite her boasts of being, “a top smuggler”, she was caught and arrested trying to pass over a cocktail of drugs, worth thousands of pounds in prison terms, at HMP Hindley, in Manchester, HMP Liverpool and at Frankland Prison, Durham, between August and November, in 2019.

Helen Towers, prosecuting, told the court: “The Crown’s case is that she was running a planned operation and accepts the description of being a ‘professional visitor’.”

But when interviewed she claimed to have been threatened to go on the visit.

“She claimed she did not know the prisoner, even though there were previous visits to see him.”

Mahon, 25, of Gilbert Street, Liverpool, admitted nine counts of conveying prohibited items into prison.

Bernice Campbell, for Mahon, said, “some pressure was put on her”, but she conceded: “She contributed a lot to it as an important cog in this whole operation.

“There were obviously other people involved in it.”

Miss Campbell added that the defendant’s “vulnerabilities”, due to mental health issues, were, “exploited” by others.

Jailing her, Judge Ray Singh told Mahon: “Your repeat offending, is of such a serious nature that it must call for a significant custodial sentence, despite your lack of previous convictions.

“You were involved in a no doubt lucrative enterprise in which you were a significant player, supplying drugs and other paraphernalia to prisoners around the country.”

Proceeds of crime inquiries will now follow to see what sum of money can be confiscated from Mahon.

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