DRUGS such as spice have been sent into Wrexham’s HMP Berwyn disguised as Christmas cards and legal letters, an inquest was told.

During the second day of a resumed inquest into the death of 22-year-old Luke Morris Jones, DS Ros Hewitt of North Wales Police gave evidence.

Mr Jones, a serving inmate at the Wrexham prison, had been found slumped in a cell on March 31, 2018, and had died in hospital that day.

The cause of his death was thought by home office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers to be ventricular cardiac arrhythmia due to synthetic cannabinoid (spice) use.

DS Hewitt, a supervisor for the prison investigation team based at HMP Berwyn, told the inquest crime scene investigators had examined the observation cell Mr Jones had been staying in when he was discovered and they found - among other things - a kettle which had been tampered with, a milk carton adapted into a makeshift “bong” and paper.

She explained that as the prison is a “no smoking establishment”, prisoners do not have materials with which to light a fire.

However she said electrical items such as laptops, televisions and - most often - kettles were tampered with in order to expose the live wires.

This, she explained, was used to create a spark which could then be used to ignite drugs.

Asked by John Gittins, coroner for north Wales (east and central) whether such practices were a “known phenomenon” in the prison, DS Hewitt said they were.

The milk carton had been adapted in order to smoke drugs - a practice DS Hewitt said she had not come across before Mr Jones’ death.

And the paper was found to contain spice, a synthetic cannabinoid.

DS Hewitt explained the difficulty prison officers have trying to identify and stop the substance entering the prison.

“Spice can be put in a liquid form,” she explained.

“That is an easy means to get it into the prison when it sprayed on paper.

“We have had Christmas cards sent in which have been sprayed with spice, as well as legal letters.

“It doesn’t really have a smell, so it can go quite undetected.”

Dr Nicholas Smith, a GP who works between three to five days a week at the prison, said he usually hears of at least one instance of drug use each day he is there.

He told the hearing he had written a letter to Mr Jones warning of the dangers of illicit drugs - a pre-drafted document he’d had to send to inmates in the past.

Dr Smith also met with Mr Jones to emphasise his concern and recommend he make contact with the substance misuse team - an approach the coroner described as proactive.

The inquest also heard a statement from Rhiannon Smith, who worked as a mental health nurse at the prison while Mr Jones had been an inmate.

She said she met him in April 2017, at which point he had reported fleeting suicidal thoughts, and fluctuating moods.

She also documented instances of self harm and said he had been referred to a psychiatrist, as well as agreeing to use a self help guide.

Consultant psychiatrist Rajvinder Sambhi told the hearing he had three consultations with Mr Jones, the first of which was on May 25, 2017.

At that point he was already receiving medications for mental health conditions, had been an inmate for about five to six weeks and he reported hearing voices as well as having a low mood.

He also told Dr Sambhi of his history of substance misuse, which had been happening since he was 10, and his alcohol use.

Dr Sambhi said the clinical working picture he formed was of someone presenting with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

At the second appointment Mr Jones had again spoken of his fluctuating moods, telling Dr Sambhi he was “sick of not knowing” how he was going to feel day to day.

The third appointment took place on August 10 and while he reported his depression was worse, Dr Sambhi said Mr Jones was “future oriented” and spoke of his plans to get a job in the catering sector and a place to live.

Asked whether he felt more could have been done to support Mr Jones, Dr Sambhi said: “I think from an overall mental health point of view and input from the multi disciplinary team, I feel clinically the input has been regular and precise.”

Pauline Edwards became a mental health nurse at the prison in January last year.

She told the inquest Mr Jones had lost his job in the kitchen in February or March that year which, coupled with news of his mother’s illness, had a noticeable affect on his mood.