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Man in court for having ‘zombie’ prison drug Spice

PUBLISHED: 13:12 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 December 2018

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

A judge highlighted the serious problems drugs in jails cause as he sentenced a former inmate of Norwich Prison found with a wrap of the synthetic drug Spice in his cell.

Richard Hodges, 23, was found with a small quantity of the drug when he was searched by prison officers at Norwich jail, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said that Hodges claimed he had been holding the drug for someone else but later pleaded guilty to possessing the synthetic drug, which is known as Spice but also goes by the name of “Zombie” due to the zombie-like state it can leave users in.

Mr Ivory said although it was just a small amount of the drug, an aggravating feature was the fact Hodges had Spice while he was in jail serving an eight-month prison term.

Hodges, of no fixed address, admitted having the drug Spice in prison in February and was given an eight month sentence suspended for 18 months.

The court heard that Hodges had nine previous convictions for 14 offences.

Sentencing him, Judge Stephen Holt, told Hodges how a statement from the prison emphasised how dangerous and disruptive the presence of illegal drugs were in jail.

Judge Holt said: “It is a very serious problem.”

Judge Holt accepted that Hodges had found it difficult in prison and said: “You started using Spice to try to cope with the difficult situation you were in.”

However he said Hodges had now shown signs of trying to keep out of trouble: “There are positive signs you are trying to turn your life around and trying to move away from offending.”

He added: “There seems to be real signs you are trying to become a positive member of society.”

He also ordered Hodges to take part in a thinking skills programme.

Gavin Cowe, for Hodges, said that it was only a small amount of the drug and when it was found by prison officers he did not become difficult: “He pleaded guilty at the first hearing and accepted responsibilty for the offence.”

He said that Hodges had found prison life extremely difficult and was hoping not to re-offend.

He had also sought help for his anxiety problems.

Mr Cowe said “He is taking steps to put himself in a situation where he is less likely to offend.”

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