Jail threat for drugs courier who used tennis balls to supply prison

A MAN is facing a significant jail sentence after he packaged up drugs inside tennis balls which were thrown over the wall of Acklington prison.

David Clark, 27, was paid £50 by associates to prepare each package with items which were delivered to his home.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of conveying controlled drugs into a prison and one count of conveying two mobile phones into a prison when he appeared before Newcastle Crown Court last week.

The offences were committed between May and August this year.

Clark, of Rhonda Road, Red House, Sunderland, put forward a basis of plea that he did not himself throw the balls into the prison and that the packages he prepared did not contain Class A drugs, although heroin was found at the scene.

Julian Smith, defending, asked for leniency because Clark’s first child was due within days and asked for bail until the sentencing hearing which will take place during the second week of October.

Mr Smith said: “He recognises that he faces a custodial sentence and he would like to meet his child and make arrangements. He has greatly reduced his offending over the last year.”

Judge James Goss QC bailed Clark, but warned him he faces a substantial jail term.

The judge said: “You know you have committed serious offences and you know you are going to get a prison sentence.

“The only question is to determine how long.”