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Daniel Kelly admits using drone to fly drugs and phones into Swaleside prison on Sheppey

A man has admitted involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle drugs and other items such as mobile phones into prisons using drones.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Daniel Kelly pleaded guilty to conveying prohibited items into prisons and conspiracy to project a drone into prisons between April 15 and May 6 this year.

Prosecutor Dickon Reid said at Maidstone Crown Court there had been “a fair amount of investigation” into the matter.

Stock image
Stock image

It started, he said, with Kelly, 37, and his pregnant girlfriend, Ingrid Edwards, 25, being found with a drone in Sheppey on April 25 after an attempt to drop items into Swaleside Prison.

Mr Reid said a SIM card or recording card had been analysed by police. Because Kelly had entered a basis of plea the drone was to be tested for drugs.

Edwards, who lives with Kelly in Wolfe Crescent Charlton, south east London, denied both charges and a provisional trial date has been set for her on October 17.

But Mr Reid asked for more time to consider Kelly’s basis of plea, which could affect the stance taken on Edwards.

Judge Jeremy Carey rejected a request for Kelly to be sentenced immediately.

“This matter has been going on since April,” said his lawyer James Ross.

“He is a cannabis user. When the pair were stopped Miss Edwards was said to smell of cannabis because they had been smoking it.

“It may be once this drone is swabbed, there may be traces of cannabis or there may be none. They may have had cannabis on their fingers when fiddling with the drone.”

HMP Swaleside
HMP Swaleside

Describing it as “serious offending”, Judge Carey said it was “pretty rich” that Kelly was insisting on being sentenced when he had only just proffered a basis of plea.

Kelly was remanded in custody and bail was continued for Edwards, who is 10 weeks pregnant, conditional on residence and a curfew between 9pm and 6am.

Refusing to lift the curfew, the judge said: “I think she is very lucky to have bail at all. This is a very serious alleged offending.”

Kelly and Edwards will return to court on July 20.

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