Gloucestershire pharmacist jailed for drugs theft

John Edens and Angela Jones
Image caption Both Edens and Jones were drug addicts

A former Gloucestershire pharmacist and a customer who became his partner have been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds worth of prescription drugs.

John Edens, 28, and Angela Jones, 30, admitted obtaining medication using false names, "ghost" patients and altered prescriptions.

Edens, of Ebley, near Stroud, was jailed for two years, and Jones, of Stonehouse, was jailed for one year.

The pharmacy lost £3,000 worth of drugs, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

'Position of trust'

Edens admitted 13 charges including theft, fraud and forgery. He also asked for 25 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Jones admitted six counts of fraud and one of handling stolen goods. She asked for five similar offences to be taken into consideration.

The court heard that Edens had begun prescribing himself diamorphine after developing an addiction, and Jones had become dependent on Heminevrin, a drug used to treat alcohol withdrawal.

Prosecutor Derek Ryder said that an "agreement" was formed between the two over the obtaining of the drugs.

Jones admitted altering prescription forms, and using false personal details and false identities to register and obtain medication from a number of GP practices across the south west.

Edens created "ghost" patient names to issue false prescriptions, and stole blank NHS prescription forms to fill out later.

Stonehouse Pharmacy, where he worked between October 2009 and March this year, lost around £3,000 worth of drugs, and the NHS itself lost around £500.

Lee Sheridan, counter fraud specialist for the NHS in Gloucestershire, said: "Even after they had been arrested, the two did not stop what they were doing."

Image caption Edens has been suspended by the General Pharmaceutical Council

He said: "This conviction came after a long and detailed investigation by the NHS counter-fraud team and Gloucestershire Police working closely together.

"We needed statements from every GP who had provided treatment, as well as from the hospitals, GP practices, and pharmacies from which Jones and Edens had stolen prescriptions or obtained medication."

Mr Sheridan added: "Edens is a qualified pharmacist and therefore was in a high position of trust which he clearly abused.

"He has now been suspended by his professional body, the General Pharmaceutical Council."

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