“The numbers he ordered increased as time went by."
Pharmacist Hussnen Abbas, aged 28, of Blackburn, was jailed for 12 months for stealing drugs from his employer to sell on to illegal dealers.
Preston Crown Court heard he ordered surplus amounts of tranquilisers while he was working at Boots over a period of nine months.
He would sell them on to friends who would deal them on the streets.
Abbas was a relief pharmacist so he would move from branch to branch. He was caught after an investigation was launched by bosses at the town centre branch.
Paul Dockery, prosecuting, said:
“When enquiries into his behaviour began in February 2019, it was found he had been in the practice of placing orders for Temazepam in 2mg tablets which were supplied in boxes of 28.
“Checks revealed there were no repeat prescriptions whereby patients may want such amounts of that drug and so enquiries started, going back to March 2018.”
Abbas had a habit of ordering drugs regardless of the store he was working at.
During his time at the Carnforth branch, he regularly ordered extra supplies.
Mr Dockery said: “He was simply moving from store to store ordering as if ordering for the company but then taking home the boxes with him.
“The numbers he ordered increased as time went by.
“When the investigation had come to an end the analysis revealed that 252 boxes of Temazepam had been ordered and stolen with a smaller amount of Diazepam – 36 boxes – ordered and stolen.”
In February 2019, Abbas was spoken to by an internal investigator and he admitted to the crime.
Mr Dockery explained: “He said initially he had supplied a friend from Nelson – he spoke about the money he made from the medication and said it could be up to £20 a box.
“Rough and ready figures show this would have made him around £5,760.
“He went on to explain he had been asked by friends for prescription drugs many times and he eventually gave in to the requests.
“Because of the admissions, he was suspended. Boots say that their commercial lost was £10,270.”
Abbas has no previous convictions.
Defending, Julian King explained: “I have no submissions that will seek to undermine the seriousness of this offending.
“This is a very sad case. He was a qualified pharmacist. Having gone through all that hard work to become a professional, he has thrown it all away.
“He wishes to ensure his life is not characterised by this very poor decision.
“He appears with the support of his family – that is not without its own difficulties. He is the sole carer for his mother.”
Temazepam is a benzodiazepine. They are prescribed to treat anxiety and severe insomnia.
However, benzodiazepines are often illegally used to help people come off acid, cocaine, speed or ecstasy.
Judge Beverley Lunt told Abbas: “You know perfectly well that the nature of the work of pharmacists who deal with numerous drugs means that a high level of trust is put into an employee.
“It is vital for the profession that the public have this trust in them – that is what makes your crime so very serious.
“For a period of nine months, you stole a substantial number of drugs.
“What makes it even worse is that you were stealing these drugs to give to other people and it plainly was not for their own use.
“You knew were giving them to people who were dealing them as a commodity, as a drug to profit by it.”
“You yourself profited from the selling of them.
“There can be no possible excuse for what you did.
“An honest, upright, and trustworthy citizen would have gone to the police and told someone about it if they were under this pressure – not carry on stealing these drugs.
“Now you stand here; you have lost your job, you’ve lost your qualification and you’ve lost your good name.
“You are an intelligent man and you knew what you were doing.
“The mitigation is your previous good character, the fact you have now lost all of those things I have just listed, and your guilty plea and admissions.
“The offences are so serious punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”
Lancashire Telegraph reported that Abbas was jailed for 12 months.