A MUM-OF-THREE narrowly avoided being sent to jail for smuggling drugs into Risley Prison because one of her children has diabetes.

Warrington Crown Court heard on Friday how Debra Jones, from Southport, appeared to use one of her children to try and hand the drugs over to her partner.

CCTV cameras watching the family group spotted her partner take hold of the young child and appeared to fiddle with the child’s waistband and then move his hand to his neck.

Peter Hussey, prosecuting, said: “A package was caught dropping down his T-shirt and the officers in the room were alerted.

“There was 3.37g of dihydrocodeine and 6.49g of cannabis.

“She said in interview she was asked to bring drugs in by her partner a week earlier.”

Simeon Evans, defending, said Jones had three children, two with her current partner and if she was sent to prison they would have to be split up between her partner, who is now out of prison but has never looked after the children, and her parents.

He added: “Her seven-year-old child has diabetes which requires two injections a day. She may lose a stable family home for her family.”

Judge David Hale questioned why she had not mentioned her child’s condition to Probabtion services during her pre-sentence report and called on her to give evidence about the child’s diabetes.

Jones said she had to regularly monitor her child’s food and blood sugar levels and no other carers for her child knew how to spot any potential signs of danger with the condition.

Sentencing her Judge Hale said: “Taking drugs into prison is always a serious offence and almost always results in imprisonment.

“I’m not going to send you to prison today because of your children but particularly your diabetic child.

“It should not be thought taking drugs into prison is likely to result in a non-custodial sentence. It is only because of the very exceptional example in your case.”

She was handed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and handed a 12 month supervision order and 100 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to conveying drugs into prison.