A TRUSTED Barnsley nurse who supplied drugs to prisoners will be jailed as part of the takedown of a huge drug network - believed to be worth well over £1m.
Amy Hatfield, 37, formerly of Hawthorne Street in Kingstone, was working as a mental health nurse at HMP Lindholme - near Doncaster - when she was arrested at the prison.
Hatfield disclosed to Detective Constable Scott Jarvis that she had ‘some stuff’ on her when she was arrested at the prison.
When officers searched Hatfield’s belongings, they found multiple wraps of cannabis, tobacco, anabolic steroids, vials of liquid, MDMA, phones and chargers.
She also had in her possession several bottles of ‘Ribena’, which in fact contained a liquid form of the synthetic cannabinoid spice.
She was initially arrested in 2019 and a four-year police investigation followed - culminating with a date at Sheffield Crown Court last week.
The jury was told inmates ‘placed orders’ for items with gang members, who charged up to ten times the street value to supply them.
The court heard that Hatfield was paid £1,000 each time she delivered items to inmates.
Detective Sergeant Gareth Gent, who heads up the force’s dedicated prison anti-corruption unit, said: “Last week marked the culmination of a four-year investigation into one of the most significant and complex prison conspiracies in the country, unravelling a network of criminals both in and out of the prison system working to smuggle dangerous and illegal substances into custody for money.
“Our investigation began back in October 2019, after we received information that drugs and other unlawful items including lock knives were being smuggled into HMP Lindholme.
“We attended at the prison and arrested a mental health nurse as she arrived for her shift and what we found led to the unravelling of this group’s criminal enterprise.
“The prison value of the liquid spice recovered from Hatfield that morning was estimated by prison experts to be around £1m.
“That quantity of drugs found on one person going into the prison was undoubtedly shocking and set alarm bells ringing that this was part of something much bigger.
“As we started to dig into Hatfield’s associates and connections, little did we know that we would uncover such large-scale criminality.”
A 19-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court concluded last Thursday, with 58-year-old Paul Whittingham, of Halifax Road, Bradford, found guilty of money laundering - the last of the 20-strong criminal group to face legal proceedings.
DS Gent added: “This investigation has spanned nearly four years and the amount of work that has gone into building this complex case to present to the courts is considerable.
“I want to recognise the dedication and patience of the jury throughout this lengthy trial process, which has taken nearly five months.
“I am indebted to the investigation team, in particular the officer in the case DC Jarvis, who has worked so hard to gather evidence against those involved, and to the specialists who have provided their knowledge and experience.
“As a result of our tireless determination to uncover this criminal network, we have disrupted and dismantled an incredibly dangerous drugs operation that posed a significant risk to the prison population, it’s staff and the wider community.”
Hatfield pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, conspiracy to supply class B drugs, two counts of conspiracy to convey List A articles into prison (drugs and knives), conspiracy to convey articles into prison (phones), and money laundering.
She will be sentenced at a later date.