A woman who stashed drugs and tobacco under her skirt to give to her boyfriend in prison during a visit has walked free from court with a suspended jail sentence.

Clare Richards was spotted reaching under her skirt and removing a package which she handed to her prisoner partner.

He hid it down his trousers, but a court heard the exchange was captured on CCTV.

Prison guards also witnessed the incident.

The court heard the prisoner, Richards' boyfriend, was searched and a package containing tobacco and four types of steroid drugs, 200 tablets in all with a value in prison of up to £1,470, was found.

The prison can hold 2,100 inmates

Richards, 33, of Cambridge Grove in Whitefield, Bury, pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying an article into a prison.

But she escaped an immediate custodial sentence.

At Mold Crown Court in Flintshire, Wales, a judge jailed her for six months, but suspended the sentence for two years.

She was said to have acted 'out of loyalty to her boyfriend', a serving prisoner.

The court heard Richards was arrested after prison guards at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham saw her hand over the package, reported North Wales Live.

Mold Crown Court

A judge heard she had been searched moments before entering the prison's visitors hall in July, 2018.

David Mainstone, prosecuting, said Richards greeted her boyfriend before guards watching saw her reach under her skirt and remove a package, which was then handed to the prisoner who hid it down his trousers.

The incident was captured on the prison's closed circuit television, the court heard.

"The prisoner, who has already been dealt with by the court, was searched and a package containing tobacco and four types of steroid drugs, 200 tablets in all with a value in prison of up to £1,470, was found," he said.

A cell inside the prison

Richards, the court heard, was arrested but refused to answer questions put to her by police.

She admitted the charge in court on Tuesday.

Her defence counsel, Estelle Parkinson, said she acted out of loyalty to her boyfriend.

"She did something which was out of character and which jeopardises her future," Ms Parkinson said.

Handing her a six-month prison term, suspended for two years, Judge Niclas Parry said only a custodial sentence could be justified.

He said drugs cause problems for the prison authorities and prisoners alike.

But he said there was significant mitigation which allowed him to suspend the sentence.

Richards was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 days of rehabilitation requirement.

The drugs seized at the prison will be destroyed.  

The largely category C prison can hold up to 2,100 inmates.