Prison officer from Derbyshire jailed after smuggling drugs and phones to inmates in her underwear

A prison officer from Derbyshire has been jailed after smuggling steroids and phones to inmates.

Gemma Farr smuggled the banned items into the prison by hiding them in her underwear after falling in love with a convicted killer serving a life sentence.

Gemma Farr had worked at the prison for seven years.

Gemma Farr had worked at the prison for seven years.

In September 2017, bosses at HMP Dovegate alerted police after suspicions were raise over Farr's conduct and routine of regularly leaving the prison grounds.

Investigators from the Regional Prison Investigation Team - part of West Midlands' Regional Organised Crime Unit - found 37-year-old Farr, who had worked at the prison for seven years in a prisoner rehab role, had arranged regular meetings with Salford man Peter Cochrane in nearby pub car parks where the banned items were handed over.

Analysis of her mobile phone revealed more than 1,500 contacts - including calls, texts and WhatsApp messages - from June to September 2017 with a number suspected of being a 'pool phone' used secretively by prisoners.

And prison staff found inmate Ricky Walsh, 34, who is serving a minimum 10-year sentence for robbery and gun possession, trying to flush a Samsung handset down his cell toilet during a lockdown search.

Ricky Walsh

Ricky Walsh

Farr, of Draycott, appeared at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday) and was jailed for 32 months after admitting conspiring to supply steroids and phones into prison. A third charge of misconduct in a public office was left to lie on file.

Walsh - who orchestrated the supply of drugs and phones inside - will be sentenced at a later date.

His partner Louise Brierley, 34, from Ancoats in Manchester, was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work after admitting money laundering by taking deposits into her bank account from associates of prisoners who used the contraband supply chain.

And Cochrane, 58, from Cross Lane in Salford, was jailed for eight months for his part in the supply conspiracy.

Detective Constable Stephanie Petersen, said: “This latest conviction is the result of a year-long investigation. The group involved in the conspiracy included a serving prison officer, a convicted prisoner, the prisoner’s partner and an associate used to transport the illicit items.

“This sends a clear message to all those who considering smuggling illegal items into a prison: whatever your role we will investigate offences and the perpetrators risk significant prison sentences.”