A PROLIFIC criminal who tried to smuggle drugs into prison hidden in a radio has been given his “last chance”, a court heard.

Darren Lane brought the electronic into Winchester prison which contained 13.8g of MDMA on August 17 last year.

The 43-year-old had earlier handed himself in to Poole Police Station in relation to a burglary he had committed in Bournemouth.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Winchester Crown Court heard that Lane knew he would be immediately remanded into custody.

Jane Terry, prosecuting, said that staff at the city’s prison found that the screws in the stereo had been tampered with. On inspection the class A drugs and other unspecified items were found inside.

The MDMA has a street value of £420, but due to the “very captive market” in jail, Ms Terry said, that increases to £2,100.

Lane’s barrister, Richard Tutt, said the defendant thought he would be taken to Channings Wood Prison, in Devon.

He continued: “It was at that point he was approached by an acquaintance to take some drugs. He was told that the drugs would be collected from him in person, so he wasn’t going to benefit from this personally.

“He wasn’t thinking at the time, he was street homeless, using heroin, crack cocaine and he was vulnerable.”

In September last year Lane was jailed for three years and four months for burglary. Mr Tutt said that he has “spent quite a bit of time in custody trying to change his life”.

Mr Tutt told the court Lane has an offer at a rehabilitation centre upon his release from prison and is now clean from drugs.

Lane pleaded guilty to smuggling the drugs during the hearing.

Judge Jane Miller said that if a judge would have sentenced both the drug smuggling and the burglary at the same time, he would have been handed a higher sentence.

Judge Miller continued: “You are a man aged 43 and a very lengthy record 49 convictions for 161 offences, although only one of those is a drug offence.

“Effectively this was possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

“You know exactly what drugs do when you are inside custody.”

The judge said she was “impressed” by Lane’s actions to get a rehabilitation place and come off drugs.

Lane was given a 24 month sentence suspended for two years and Judge Miller added: “This is about your last chance.

“If you commit further offences, if you fall into difficulties, it will be straight back into prison no questions asked.”