(Image: Cheshire Police)

In a poignant courtroom scene, a mother, Lorraine Barlow, broke down in tears as she received a prison sentence for her involvement in smuggling drugs into HMP Risley to support her incarcerated son. The 43-year-old orchestrated an attempt to deliver a package containing cocaine, spice, and cannabis to her son, Lynden Hodgkinson, who was serving time at the category C facility in Warrington.

Liverpool Crown Court was informed on Wednesday that Barlow’s involvement began when she received a call from her son, revealing that he owed money for drugs. The illicit package had been delivered to her home with explicit demands to bring it into the prison to settle his debts. The parcel initially posted through the letterbox, contained a mix of cocaine, cannabis resin, and spice-infused papers.

On January 29 of the previous year, after returning home from work, Barlow found the contraband at her residence. The following day, she visited HMP Risley with the package hidden on a canteen tray. However, as she entered the prison, a sniffer dog indicated the presence of illegal substances, prompting authorities to take her to a closed visitation area.

In an attempt to conceal the drugs under paper napkins on a food tray, Barlow was caught by an officer. Despite the initial search not revealing the stash, subsequent inspection uncovered one 3.51g bag of 75% purity cocaine, 7.87g of cannabis resin, and 60 spice-infused papers. The estimated street value of these drugs was approximately £715, but within the prison, they could have fetched up to £3,850.

In court, Barlow’s defense lawyer, Paul Wood, highlighted her cooperation with the police, lack of previous convictions, and her decision to resign from her job due to anticipated legal consequences. Wood emphasized her troubled past with drug use and alcohol, painting a picture of an individual seeking redemption and prioritizing motherhood.

Despite her atypical actions and the pressure she faced, Barlow pleaded guilty to three counts of conveying a prohibited article into prison. The sentencing, delivered by Recorder Peter Wright KC, acknowledged her age, good character, and difficult life but emphasized the deterrent aspect of penalizing drug-related offenses. Barlow, visibly emotional with dyed pink hair, received a 16-month jail term, with the judge stressing the need for the public to understand the consequences of engaging in similar activities.

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