A Channings Wood prisoner allegedly arranged for a woman friend to throw a parcel containing drugs and phones over the wall while he was working in a garden nearby.

Mark Morris was an inmate at the jail in December 2016 when staff monitoring CCTV saw a package being thrown over the perimeter wall.

An inmate was seen to pick it up and take it to a nearby greenhouse and Morris allegedly passed the parcel to fellow convict John Hogg, who tried to leave the area but was detained.

The rugby-ball sized  package contained cocaine, a cannabis substitute, and three phones with chargers and accessories, Exeter Crown Court was told.

A phone was found dumped in a compost bin which contained messages which appeared to be setting up the delivery.

The calls were from a woman who was registered as one of Morris’ approved contacts, who he was allowed to call from the prison.

Morris, aged 43, of Sycamore Close, Taunton, denies possessing contraband items in prison.

He says the entire operation was set up by other prisoners and he was not involved in the smuggling operation or in charge of the package at any stage.

Miss Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said the incident happened around 10.20am on December 6, 2016, when Morris and Hogg were working in an area of garden near the perimeter wall.

She said: ‘A parcel was thrown over the fence and collected by someone who could not be identified from the CCTV. A horticultural instructor went into a polytunnel and saw Morris pass an item to Hogg, who ran away.

‘He was detained by two officers who took possession of the package.’

It contained 1.41 grams of cocaine, 12 heroin substitute tablets and 31.77 grams of a Spice-like synthetic cannabis.

A phone was found in a compost bin close to Morris’ wheelbarrow which contained messages from a woman named Sarah Hewitt, who was an approved contact of Morris but not of Hogg.

One sent earlier in the day said: ‘Bulkie, do you want one or two packages?’ A second, sent just after the delivery, said: ‘xxx, happy I hope. I was panicking. Lol.’

Miss Bolt said the calls were traced to the mobile phone of Ms Hewitt, who was one of 11 private contacts who Morris was authorised to call from the prison landline.

She said all mobile phones are banned in prison and all controlled drugs are illegal.

Morris denied being the man seen picking up the parcel on CCTV or passing anything to Hogg. He said two other prisoners who were working with him were responsible.

The trial continues.