Corrupt prison officer jailed for helping drug smuggling

PUBLISHED: 16:05 23 March 2011 | UPDATED: 17:17 23 March 2011

Natalie Ricketts

Natalie Ricketts


A prisoner who ran a criminal empire from his cell, dealing in drugs and ringing luxury cars was jailed for 12 years today.

Ian Cooper

Robert Talbot, 33, of no fixed abode, was jailed at Southwark Crown Court, together with former Wandsworth prison officer Ian Cooper, 35, who received a five and a half year sentence.

The former prison officer provided Talbot with mobile phones and helped him smuggle drugs into prison, sometimes hidden in cartons of orange juice. Cooper then corrupted his partner police constable Hayley Cloud, 28, to carry out checks on vehicles he could ring. She was jailed for two years last June.

In the same case, former police constable Natalie Ricketts, 28, was given a ten month suspended sentence for after authorizing the release of a seized Lamborghini from a police car pound. She also stole police radios from Bexleyheath Police Station and passed them to the groups to use.

Thomas King, 27, of Sutton at Hone, Kent, was jailed for four years for being a ‘runner’ - handling the cars stolen from driveways in south London and the Home Counties, and then cloning them. A police search of King’s address revealed a package containing heroin, cocaine and cannabis worth a total of £22,000. The package was believed to be headed for the prison system.

Stephen Palmer

Talbot would obtain logbooks from identical vehicles to those stolen, allowing the vehicle to receive a cloned identity before being sold on.

Stephen Palmer, 28, of Temple Road, Croydon received a 12 month sentence.

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