A workman who has helped to build a major new prison near York is himself now behind bars serving a prison sentence.

Ashley Knight, 36, had bags of cocaine and nearly £1,000 in cash on him when police stopped him in a Mercedes in Scarborough, Brooke Morrison, prosecuting, told York Crown Court. He had a previous conviction for dealing in cannabis.

Defence barrister Michael Greenhalgh said since his arrest, Knight had been working in the construction industry, including on the new prison at Full Sutton east of York which will be called HMP Millsike and at Glen Parva in Leicestershire.

Knight, formerly of Nursery Road, Arnold, and now of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply it to others.

He was jailed for three years.

Ms Morrison said police stopped Knight on June 15, 2022. He was the only person in the Mercedes.

Officers found nine bags of cocaine under the passenger seat, £910 in cash and a mobile phone. Knight claimed the drugs were nothing to do with him and refused to give police the PIN number of the mobile phone.

But police managed to get into the phone and found it contained messages relating to drug dealing.

Mr Greenhalgh handed in a reference from Knight’s employer.

Since his arrest, Knight had “straightened out” his life, said the defence barrister. He was now in stable accommodation and been working as a concrete operator.

A plan of HMP MillsikeA plan of HMP Millsike

In that capacity, he had done work at the two prisons. He had also been working in football stadiums and had got himself into a position of seniority and some responsibility.

He had lost his job because he had moved address after he had been released under investigation and the court summons had gone to his old address. He had then been arrested on a warrant and held in custody.

He had got involved in the supply of drugs in 2022 because he had been out of work and had needed money. “He was not proud of that,” said Mr Greenhalgh.

But he had since got off drugs.

The new prison next to top security HMP Full Sutton east of York is expected to house 1,500 prisoners.

Construction began in late 2022 and it is expected to open in 2025.