A PRESCOED open prison convict had heroin hidden inside a Kinder Egg in his room which was discovered during a search by guards, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.

But Gareth Saunders thought the drug, which he was looking after for a fellow inmate called ‘Sparky’, was the former legal high Spice, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

The plastic egg, containing 5.49 grams of heroin, was spotted by prison officers after it had been concealed in a milk carton found inside a bin.

Prosecutor Roger Griffiths said guards also came upon syringes, with one containing traces of steroids, hidden in a nodding British Bulldog novelty gift.

The 28-year-old, serving a jail-term for a 2013 robbery, admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply on July 16, 2016.

But his guilty plea was on the basis that he thought the drug he was looking after was Spice.

The court heard Saunders was not a heroin user and had lost his privileges as a result of the offence, being transferred from the Category D HMP Prescoed open prison, near Usk, to closed jails, firstly HMP Cardiff and then HMP Parc.

Mr Griffiths read a statement from HMP Prescoed which said offences like this could “affect good order, discipline and the breakdown of trust” there and impact upon the safety of both prisoners and staff and would “not be tolerated”.

Saunders was released from prison last August and is on licence until 2022.

Saunders’ barrister Hashim Salmman, in mitigation, said his client had suffered a difficult upbringing and had been placed in care from a young age.

He added that the former prisoner had admitted his guilt and that his “remorse is genuine”.

A Probation Service report stated that the defendant had found a job with a Tarmac company and was due to start work next month.

Recorder Caroline Rees, QC, said that although the offence crossed the custody threshold, she sentenced him to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Saunders, of Cambrian Place, Pontarddulais, Swansea, must also carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and pay a £140 statutory surcharge.