A female prison officer accused of having a relationship with a serving inmate has appeared in court.

Stacey Sutherland, 27, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with wilfully neglecting to perform her duty at HMP Deerbolt young offenders’ institution in County Durham.

The defendant, of Marshall Street in Barnard Castle, County Durham, is said to have abused the public’s trust by entering into a relationship with the prisoner between April 1 and May 14.

Stacey Sutherland arrives at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' CourtStacey Sutherland arrives at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Sutherland spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth during the five-minute hearing.

She was granted unconditional bail by District Judge Tim Capstick to appear at Teesside Crown Court on December 6.