Prison officer sentenced after smuggling phone into prison – Surrey

A woman has been sentenced after smuggling a phone into a prison while she was working there as an officer.

Larissa Westcott, of Vicus Way, Maidenhead, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (26/1).

She was given an eight month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and must complete 30 rehabilitation sessions, with 17 hours’ unpaid work within the next 12 months.

Westcott was also ordered to pay £500 costs, plus a victim surcharge.

The 28-year-old had pleaded guilty to one count of bringing/throwing/conveying a prohibited article into a prison under the Prison Act 1952 at a hearing on 16 December 2022 at Staines Magistrates’ Court.

Between January and February 2022, when Westcott was employed as a prison officer at HMP Bronzefield in Surrey, she smuggled a mobile phone into the site at the request of a prisoner.

It was then left under a pillow for the prisoner to find and use. The device was found during a search of the prisoner’s cell and Westcott was named as the person who brought it in.

During the subsequent investigation by counter corruption officers from the South East Regional Prison Intelligence Team (SERPIT), Westcott admitted to bringing the phone into the prison.

She was charged on 13 July last year.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Nick Gossage, of SERPIT, said: “Westcott was in a position of trust in which her personal integrity was key to the role.

“However, she took it upon herself to liaise with a prisoner and to smuggle a phone into the building. Mobile phones within prisons cause considerable harm both within the prison estate and the wider community. They enable drugs and other contraband to be brought in and traded causing violence, debt and strain on health services.

“This should serve as a warning to anyone else working in a prison. Our counter corruption officers will investigate and should you be found to be responsible, you will face court proceedings and possibly face prison time yourself.”