Ten sentenced in prison drugs-smuggling conspiracy

A group of prison officers, inmates and their family members have been sentenced for conspiring to smuggle drugs, alcohol and mobile phones in to Lewes prison.

From top left: Ricky Bridger, Simon Taylor, Darren Burdfield, Simon Penton, Daniel Sallis, Simon Khalil, Dorian Henry.
From top left: Ricky Bridger, Simon Taylor, Darren Burdfield, Simon Penton, Daniel Sallis, Simon Khalil, Dorian Henry.

The smuggling ring, which included two prison officers and five people who were prisoners at the time of the offences, were sentenced at Hove Crown Court today (Friday, July 28), for conspiring to convey prohibited articles into the prison between 18 June 2014 and 10 September 2015. A mother and two girlfriends of inmates were also sentenced.

Eight of the ten had been convicted on July 21, after an eight-week trial. A further defendant, 30-year-old Sheryl Donegan, of Bexhill Roadd, Brighton, was found not guilty at the same trial.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The jury also failed to agree in the case of 34-year-old Danielle Henry, a finance clerk of Alfred Rd, London. As a result Ms Henry was discharged, although Sussex Police say the CPS are planning to seek a re-trial.

Those convicted included former prison officers 54-year-old Ricky Bridger, of The Oaks, Heathfield and 28-year-old Simon Taylor, a physical trainer and former prison officer, of West Way in Littlehampton. Bridger was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and Taylor sentenced to eight years;

Police say Bridger, who is currently suspended from work, and Taylor, who had already left the prison service prior to his arrest, brought in th contraband items hidden inside Pringles tubes and protein powder tubs, paid for by prisoners’ relatives and girlfriends. They included controlled-substances such as cocaine and the so-called legal high known as 'Spice.'

A number of people who were prisoners at the time were also sentenced. They were Darren Burdfield, 33, and Daniel Sallis, 30, unemployed, now of Bexhill Road, Woodingdean, Brighton who both received five years as well as Simon Penton, 45, who was given three.

Two other defendants, who were also serving prisoners at the time the offences took place, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing. They were Simon Khalil, 34, and Dorian Henry, 26. Both men were already serving prison sentences for separate conspiracies of supplying cocaine at the time of this new offence. Both were given three year prison sentences.

During the trial, the court heard how large amounts of the conspirators’ money was disguised and moved around by Simon Khali's ex-partner Katie Rudd as well as by Sabrina Burdfield and Sarah Hall, respectively the mother and partner of Darren Burdfield.

Both 61-year-old Sabrina Burdfield, 61, of Redwing Close, Littlehampton, and 32-year-old Sarah Hall, of Barnet Way, Durrington, were given 12-month sentences, suspended for 18 months and a four-month doorstep curfew. Both women work as care assitants. Meanwhile Katie Rudd, 26, unemployed, of Park Farm Lane, Maresfield, was given a two-year sentence suspended for two years and six-month doorstep curfew;