A pair of cell mates tried to flush a mobile phone down the toilet after they were discovered by prison guards.

Lloyd Brown and Reece Weatherburn were in the same cell at HMP Bullingdon, near Bicester, when they were discovered with the illegal phone in September 2019.

Officers at the prison spotted one of the men use the phone then try to throw it down the toilet.

Sentencing the men to suspended prison sentences at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: “Both of you knew perfectly well you were not allowed that phone.”

Possession of such items in prison had the potential to ‘not only undermine discipline but can be used for criminal purposes’, the judge added.

Prosecutor Adam Butler said Weatherburn was serving an 18 month sentence imposed in July 2019 for conspiracy to commit affray, possession of a knife and other charges when he was caught by prison guards.

His more heavily convicted cell mate, Brown, was sentenced to 31 months in March 2019 for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

Both of the men’s barristers said the phone had only been used for making social calls to family and friends. It was not used to post photographs or videos to social media.

Helena Duong, for Brown, said: “It falls at the lower end of the scale of offences of this nature. This is even on the Crown’s case an opportunistic use of a mobile phone that presented itself to Mr Brown.”

The Kingston man was maturing, having received three prison sentences in his youth and early adulthood. “Over the last two years it has been a journey for him in which he has come to be more mature and, I would submit, accept responsibility for his actions.”

She said her client was working 16 hours a week and could afford to pay £100 a month if he was asked to pay the prosecution costs.

Kellie Enever, for Weatherburn, said her client had pleaded guilty on the basis that he had made two or three social calls.

He would benefit from probation service support, she said. He was on universal credit and did gardening and landscaping odd jobs.

Brown, of Nipper Alley, Kingston-upon-Thames, and Weatherburn, of Battle Square, Reading, pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to possession of the mobile phone.

Judge Gledhill sentenced Brown, who admitted his guilt at a later stage, to eight months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered he pay £1,200 in costs.

Weatherburn received six months suspended for two years and must pay £500 costs.

Both were ordered to do 140 hours of unpaid work.

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