A MUM who tried to smuggle items into prison whilst visiting her son has avoided jail.

Donna Coxon, 44, of Maes y Goron in Denbigh was caught trying to sneak cannabis and SIM cards into HMP Berwyn, Wrexham, on May 22 last year.

Appearing at Mold Crown Court on September 3, Coxon pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to convey prohibited items into a prison

Mold Crown Court heard how Coxon said she was given two packages from an ‘unknown man’ after a prison sniffer dog detected the prohibited items.

Prosecuting Gemma Gordon said Coxon was taken into a holding room where 45g of cannabis – worth around £1,125 to £2,250 in the prison environment, and two SIM cards worth around £50 each were found.

She added: “She felt very stupid and was sorry.”

In interview, Coxon said she had been given the packages by an unknown male who dropped them at her house believing them to contain tobacco and cannabis.

In an impact statement read out in court, a custodial manager at HMP Berwyn said the use of illegal drugs in prison can have ‘enormous consequences’.

The court heard how prisoners can get into debt which leads to assault, bullying and fear and also stops rehabilitation and undermines intervention.

The use of prohibited items is ‘negative on everything they are trying to achieve’.

Matthew Curtis, defending, said the best mitigation was Coxon’s guilty plea and ‘clear remorse’.

He added: “Whether she was taken advantage of is something the court has to bear in mind.

“There’s always a degree of coercion.”

The court heard how Coxon, who has seven convictions for 11 offences, has struggled with her mental health and had limited knowledge of what the items were.

Mr Curtis said: “She believed she was helping her son, plainly she wasn't and neither was she helping her own situation.

"Whilst her son has difficulties with his own debts, the reality is, the defendant knows there are other ways she should have dealt with this problem."

The judge, Mr Recorder Greg Bull QC said: "Taking prohibited articles into prison is very serious.

"It creates chaos in the prison because drugs are passed around, inmates misbehave and prison officers are put at risk.

"SIM cards are used very often, not just to contact loved ones but to hatch other plots and crime.

"I accept that what you did, you did for the love of your son and because you were under pressure, but sadly, everybody who takes things into prison say they act under the same motives and those excuses don't wash.”

Recorder Bull said the offending was serious but he would not be sending Coxon to prison.

Coxon was given a six-month sentence for the smuggling of cannabis and four months for the SIM cards.

She was ordered to serve a total of six-months, which was suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 50 hours unpaid work as well as undergo rehabilitation sessions.

Recorder Bull added this was meant to ‘help’ rather than ‘punish’ her.