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Pharmacist who stole drugs to order is jailed

PUBLISHED: 16:47 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:47 16 November 2018

The Stowhealth building in Violet Hill Road, Stowmarket.

The Stowhealth building in Violet Hill Road, Stowmarket.

An Ipswich pharmacist who stole drugs to order while working at a Suffolk health centre has been jailed for 31 months.

Joseph Achina, of Ipswich, former manager of Boots pharmacy at Stowmarket Health Centre, who was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for 31 months.Joseph Achina, of Ipswich, former manager of Boots pharmacy at Stowmarket Health Centre, who was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for 31 months.

Joseph Achina, of Ashcroft Road, Ipswich, was the manager of the Boots pharmacy at Stowmarket Health Centre, Ipswich Crown Court heard,

Judge Rupert Overbury said Achina, 56, had worked for Boots for 28 years was in a significant position of trust.

The drugs he stole, which included diamorphine, diazepam and sleeping tablets, were valued at £4,000 but would have been worth much more on the black market.

He said Achina had initially claimed he had stolen the drugs to send to family in Ghana, but messages on his phone and iPad showed the drugs were stolen to order and he rejected Achina’s claim he had sold them to people who needed them.

The judge said there had been a significant risk of harm to the people who received medication that hadn’t been prescribed to them.

He said Achina had also breached his bail conditions by going to Ghana.

Achina admitted stealing medication belonging to Boots Pharmacy at the centre, in Violet Hill Road, between October 31 2016 and June 10 2017 and a bail offence.

David Wilson, prosecuting, said suspicions were aroused in November 2016 after 147 packets of diazepam containing 4,000 tablets went missing. In June 2017 a further 140 packets of diazepam were missing and Achina was subsequently arrested.

The court heard some of the drugs were unwanted or out of date medication which had no value as they would have been destroyed by Boots.

Stolen drugs worth £1,000 were found at Achina’s home and the total value of medication stolen by him was £4,417.

Mr Wilson said messages found on his phone and iPad showed Achina had offered drugs for payment and the messages also included instructions for collection.

Adam Pearson for Achina said his client had had serious financial problems and was taking medication for depression.

He said he had no previous convictions and had found his job “difficult and stressful”.

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