A PREGNANT Kidderminster woman claimed she had been pushed into smuggling drugs into prison, after threats were made to her family.

Amy-Leigh Shuck, of Dunclent Crescent, was spared jail when she appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, August 18, after admitting conveying a class A article (cannabis) and a class B article (the SIM cards) into HMP Hewell, in Redditch.

The 20-year-old is seven months pregnant – with her baby due on October 2.

She said she suffered from pre-eclampsia and would have to give birth by caesarean section.

Shuck visited the prison on May 10, when, at around 2.30pm, a drugs dog detected cannabis which she had hidden in a sock.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, said when officers asked her if she had drugs she replied ‘no’. They told her it was in her best interest to reveal what she was carrying and she produced the drugs and SIM cards from a sock.

In interview, she said threats had been made not just to her and her family, but her partner.

Mr Conry added: “She was told where to go and what to wear.

“She met these people in the car park of a public house, very close to the prison.”

Neither the prosecution nor the defence were able to give any information about the weight or value of the cannabis seized.

Judge Nicholas Cole, basing his information on a photograph, said the drugs were not the small amount he sometimes saw in cases, but nor were the drugs in ‘industrial quantities’.

Jason Aris, defending, said there had been text messages showing the threats on Shuck’s mobile phone, which had still not been returned to her by police, and asked the Crown to accept her basis of plea.

Judge Cole said: “The presence of drugs and mobile phones in prison is a well-known problem.

“It causes a breakdown in prison discipline and often leads to bullying.

“SIM cards can enable those in prison to carry on criminal activity while they are incarcerated.”

Judge Cole argued that in such cases there needed to be a deterrent sentence, but balanced that against the fact she had been under a ‘high degree of pressure from others who had been threatening you’.

He acknowledged her lack of previous convictions and her early guilty plea.

He added: “In the vast majority of cases, people who smuggle drugs and other items into prison go straight to prison themselves.

“The message needs to go out loud and clear from this court that those who try to smuggle drugs into prison will be caught.”

Judge Cole sentenced her to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

She will also have to complete up to 20 rehabilitation activity days when directed to do so by the probation service.