Imagine for a moment you were locked away in London's Wormwood Scrubs prison, removed from society for possibly the rest of your life, living on prison gruel, and paying off the guards with cigarettes and cash bribes. Now imagine you had a man on the outside, a friend who had your back, someone who would visit on open days, and offered to devise a plan to smuggle in a few things to make your life easier. Using a length of fishing wire he developed a way to sneak a bag of contraband over the 30-foot-high prison wall, across the partition, and in through your cell window—all in broad daylight—without attracting the attention of the guards.
What would you ask them to get? Cigarettes, cash, a mobile phone, drugs to sell to the other inmates? Those are perhaps the most traditional choices—and no doubt for good reason—but what about those creature comforts, the little things that make you feel safe and happy, that enable you to forget for a moment you are in a prison and pretend you are a free man?
I am of course talking about the humble Egg McMuffin. After the drugs and the cash and the weapons, would that not be what you would ask for—a bite of something that could transport you to cold mornings hunched in the corner of McDonalds stuffing your face with the taste of coronary heart disease while you wait for the rain to stop? I know I would.
And I'm not the only one. Karl Jensen, 27, and his 26-year-old girlfriend Lisa Mary Hutchinson, were sentenced this week for attempting to smuggle precisely that to an unknown inmate at Wormwood Scrubs prison in Shepherds Bush, west of London. Using a plastic bag attached to the end of a fishing line, Jensen managed to transport the McMuffin from outside the prison wall and in through a cell window. And he would have got away with it, if the whole thing hadn't been caught on CCTV by keen-eyed prison guards.
Now he is serving a two and a half year sentence on the other side of the prison wall; his girlfriend got off with a 12-month community order for her role in the operation. The whole thing sounds a bit harsh until you realize included in the package was a bottle of vodka, a wrap of cocaine, and a knife.
Detective Constable Andy Griffin said of the package, "Jensen and Hutchinson tried to smuggle prohibited items including drugs, alcohol, and a knife inside a prison; the combination could have been deadly. Thankfully vigilant prison staff foiled the plot and they were quickly arrested. This case serves as a strong reminder of the very serious consequences of smuggling prohibited goods into a prison."
He declined to comment on the McMuffin.