Duo jailed for smuggling drugs into prison by drone
Two men have been jailed for smuggling drugs and mobile phones to prisoners at HMP The Mount Â - delivering them by air overnight on drones.
Remo White-Channer, aged 24, and Romaine Gayle, also aged 24, were jailed for six years and six months and four years and four months respectively at Luton Crown Court on Friday, March 31.
Their criminal operation spanned three jails in three different counties, and their sentence is the longest of its type ever handed out in relation to drone crime.
The duo used £1,000 drones to fly in contraband to the three prisons that was worth £48,000 in total.
But the pair were busted after one of the drones crashed onto the roof of the Bovingdon jail, alerting both members of the public and officers.
The pair pleaded guilty to using drones to deliver significant amounts of Class A and Class B drugs - as well as mobile phones - into HMP The Mount in Bovingdon, HMP Swaleside on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent and HMP Highpoint in Suffolk during the summer of 2016.
As part of an organised crime group, the pair had the finances to purchase drones worth £1,000 each.
They then put together packages containing cannabis, spice and heroin, as well as iPhones, to attach to the drones and flew them into the prisons in the early hours.
White-Channer and Gayle were arrested in August 2016 after they were forensically linked to the crime after months of work by officers.
This conviction for the criminal use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is the first of its kind in Hertfordshire.
It was the result of partnership working between Operational Support Group (OSG), the Specialist Investigation Team (SIT), officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary, the Metropolitan Police, Kent Police, Suffolk Police and HM Prison Service.
Sergeant Mick West, from the Specialist Investigation Team, said: “This is an excellent result and a clear demonstration of how robustly we deal with individuals who attempt to deliver illegal packages into prisons.
“Our investigation crossed several borders and saw us working in collaboration with colleagues in Suffolk and Kent to put these offenders behind bars.
“I hope their conviction serves as a strong message to others who may attempt to do the same.”
And Prisons Minister MP Sam Gyimah added: "We are absolutely determined to tackle the illegal flow of drugs and mobile phones into our prisons and turn them into places of hope and rehabilitation.
"The threat posed by drones is clear, but our dedicated staff are committed to winning the fight against those who are attempting to thwart progress by wreaking havoc in establishments all over the country.
"My message to those who involve themselves in this type of criminal activity is clear; we will find you and put you behind bars if you persist."