A STOW man has been sentenced following a joint investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary and the NHS Gloucestershire Fraud Service into the theft of almost £9,000 worth of prescription medication through the use of false identities.

Christopher John Clark, aged 47, of Bartletts Park in Stow, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court today where he entered a guilty plea to six charges of fraud by false representation.

An investigation was launched in November 2010 after Gloucestershire Police received reports from residents in Stow concerned that their phone lines were being tampered with.

As part of an investigation into these concerns Police carried out a warrant at Clark’s home and recovered a large amount of prescription drugs, including Arixtra, Clexane Forte, MST, Tregretol and Carbamazepine.

Following the seizure of the medication it was uncovered that Clark had used false identities in six different names to register with at least six medical facilities across Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

Enquiries were also carried out with the assistance of Ofcom and BT and no evidence was found as part of the investigation to suggest that Clark had interfered with local phone communications. 

Today, Clark was given a nine month sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 to the NHS and to pay £250 in costs.

PC Adrian Stratton, who worked on the case, said: “We hope that the result of this protracted and detailed investigation reassures the public that we will work closely with the NHS Gloucestershire Fraud Service to take robust action against anyone defrauding our National Health Service.”

Teresa Middleton, Head of Medicines Management for NHS Gloucestershire, said: “This conviction sends out an important message to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to cheat the NHS and put the health of themselves and others at risk. The inappropriate use of prescription medicines can have very serious consequences, so it is really important that anyone defrauding the NHS in this way is prosecuted and the safety of the public safeguarded.”

Lee Sheridan, from the Gloucestershire Local Counter Fraud Service added: “We hope this case will help everyone understand that defrauding the NHS is a criminal activity. The police and the NHS counter fraud service will continue to share information so that those who commit fraud are caught and dealt with by the courts.”