Theft and drugs claim of ex-lecturer

A PROFESSOR from Martlesham Heath has claimed he was driven out of his job for "blowing the whistle" on alleged thefts and drug taking at his university.

A PROFESSOR from Martlesham Heath has claimed he was driven out of his job for "blowing the whistle" on alleged thefts and drug taking at his university.

Dr Michael Gell, of Mayfield Lane, was giving evidence at the first day of an employment tribunal in which he is claiming constructive unfair dismissal from the University of Derby.

The 48-year-old, who broke down several times while giving evidence, was employed as head of the computing division of the school of arts, design and technology in September 2001.

He told the tribunal, held in Nottingham, that a member of staff was selling university property to feed his heroin addiction.


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Dr Gell said: "I started to notice significant sums of money had disappeared from my budget but was unable to find out where the money had gone. It was also brought to my notice that university equipment was going missing such as cameras and projectors.

"I was told that drug dealers were coming into the department and that a member of staff was selling university property to feed a heroin addiction."

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Although his job at the university had initially gone well, he said unrest first came to light in April 2002, when cutbacks threatened to create redundancies and efficiency savings.

One problem area was the non-attendance of staff to teach and support students despite rooms being booked for the purpose, he told the hearing.

Dr Gell submitted a series of e-mails and letters to the tribunal as evidence that he attempted to get to the bottom of the alleged drug issues but claims that the situation remained unresolved.

In November 2002, Dr Gell said at least two members of his staff had approached him to say they were frightened that the drug dealers would come after them because they knew what had been going on.

By January last year, Dr Gell said that he was "considering blowing the whistle to external agencies" because he was not "receiving serious support".

He said: "I was feeling very stressed and frightened and at one stage was tailed in my car to and from work, so I went to the police and spoke to Higher Education Funding Council."

Dr Gell finally went off ill with stress on March 17 last year, and offered his resignation on March 29. His contract was terminated on June 30.

The tribunal continues and is expected to last ten days.

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