Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Darren Lawson and Gianni Donofrio jailed for dental equipment theft

Two East Lothian NHS workers have each been jailed for nine months after they admitted stealing dental equipment worth £75,000.

Darren Lawson, 41, from Dunbar, took the items from storerooms at NHS Lothian and Gianni Donofrio, 47, of Prestonpans, sold them on eBay.

They stole from Duncan Street Dental Centre in Edinburgh and Edenhall Hospital in Musselburgh in 2013.

They were sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Frank Crowe said: "Both of you were in positions of trust. You were previously of good character and admitted the offences at an early stage, but I do find that taking advantage of the NHS and stealing items is a matter the public would be concerned about."

Lawson, a storeman and driver for NHS Lothian, had pled guilty previously to stealing dental equipment between 5 March and 5 September 2013.

Donofrio, a facilities site supervisor at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, pled guilty to resetting the stolen goods between the same period.

Sentences had been deferred for background reports.

Warranty cover

The thefts came to light when a dentist, who had bought some of the equipment, contacted the manufacturers to ask if it was covered by warranty.

Checks by the company showed the equipment was part of a consignment sold to NHS Lothian.

Mary Moultrie, defence solicitor for Lawson, said at the time of the theft her client's financial situation was "extremely difficult".

She said: "He is genuinely ashamed and embarrassed about his actions. He is assessed as being at low risk of re-offending, but the report says he has suicidal tendencies, anxiety and depression."

Angela Craig, Donofrio's lawyer, said he had told the social worker: "You should not take what is not yours," and said such actions were "immoral".

Sheriff Crowe told the men: "Clearly there was some laxity in the system, but you took advantage of that and you had a duty of trust to your employers."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites