A border officer who shared sensitive intelligence documents with incarcerated criminals has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Jade Hearn, age 26, who worked on an anti-smuggling team at Gatwick airport was arrested by officers from the NCA’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) at her office in January 2021.
It followed a tip off from the HM Prison Service that she had been sending pictures of herself in Border Force uniform to a prisoner serving a sentence in HMP Woodhill in Buckinghamshire.
Further investigations conducted by the NCA working alongside the Border Force Joint Anti-Corruption Intelligence Team revealed that Hearn had been communicating with at least four men who were using illegally held phones from inside prison.
In some cases she had sent images of sensitive documents containing details of criminal records and individuals who were in custody after being arrested for drug smuggling.
She also sent a video of drugs seized at Gatwick, including someone holding a tape-wrapped package with a picture of Pablo Escobar on it.
On another occasion she shared details of a police investigation that she was assisting.
Other conversations showed she was moving money through her bank account on behalf of those involved in drug trafficking, in one case advising them to break payments up into smaller amounts to avoid raising suspicion, saying “don’t put it all in one go”.
During the course of the investigation officers found that Hearn had worked at Wandsworth Prison prior to her employment by Border Force, so would have had knowledge of prison security systems too.
Following her arrest by the NCA, Hearn was charged with five different offences including misconduct in public office, encouraging or assisting the use of an illegal prison phone and possessing and supplying a class B drug.
She pleaded guilty to all offences, and on Friday 19 January a judge at Southwark Crown Court sentenced her to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Dave Rock, Operations Manager at the NCA’s Anti-Corruption Unit said: “Jade Hearn abused her position as a Border Force officer and knowingly shared sensitive information with people serving prison terms for drug dealing.
“She communicated with individuals behind bars knowing that they were holding those phones illegally, and assisted them in their criminality by arranging money transfers. The NCA worked closely with the Prison Service to end their conspiracy.
“We do not believe that any of the information she passed on caused major impact to ongoing investigations or operations, but there is no doubt that the potential to do so was there had we not stopped her. Her corrupt activity was the definition of misconduct in public office.
“We know organised crime groups target insiders at ports and airports for their knowledge and access, which is why stamping out corruption across all law enforcement is such a priority for the NCA and our partners such as Border Force.”
19 January 2024