A WINCHESTER Prison officer has gone back behind bars after a judge sentenced him to seven years for smuggling drugs inside the jail.

Recorder Anthony Davies QC said that Luke Ryan, 34, a former policeman, had committed the offences for financial gain.

Last month Ryan was convicted of smuggling cocaine, heroin and cannabis into Winchester Prison where he worked.

Jailing Ryan, Mr Davies said: “It’s my view that through greed you consented to be the agent of one or more prisoners to provide them with drugs, mobile phones and alcohol.”

He ordered the confiscation of three mobile phones and about £3,000 in cash found at Ryan’s flat in Hill Lane, Southampton.

The judge said: “At the time of committing these offences you were a serving prison officer. As such, trust was placed in you not only by prison authorities but by the community at large.”

He added that smuggling drugs into jail posed a “significant problem” in maintaining discipline among the inmates.

He said: “The fact you are a prison officer means this is a fundamental breach of trust, and it was an abuse of your position to bring drugs into the prison.”

He then jailed Ryan, who had no previous convictions, for seven years.

Ryan, a former Surrey police constable, claimed that he had smuggled the drugs in December 2007 because inmates found out where he lived and were threatening to have his girlfriend beaten up. He added that they knew that he was moonlighting as a doorman, which was banned under the terms of his job.

Robert Bolton, mitigating, said: “People in prison know how to take advantage of that sort of thing, and that’s what happened in this case. He put himself in a position where he could be blackmailed.”