Hospital worker fired for 'stealing' £4 sandwich reinstated

Aldren Tomlinson
Image caption Aldren Tomlinson thanked Vanessa Feltz listeners for helping him get his job back at King George Hospital

A hospital porter who was fired for "stealing" a £4 egg and bacon sandwich has been reinstated following an outpouring of public support.

Aldren Tomlinson, who worked at King George Hospital in Ilford for 15 years, was sacked on 10 February despite agreeing to pay for the meal later.

His employers, Sodexo, restored the 45-year-old's job on Thursday morning.

A spokesperson said they "received an appeal, reviewed the situation and offered the employee reinstatement".

The decision came an hour before a protest was due to be held outside the hospital in support of Mr Tomlinson.

The NHS worker was dismissed for theft of company property after asking canteen staff if he could delay paying for his breakfast because he had left his wallet at home.

The canteen staff member who served him claims he did not hear Mr Tomlinson properly.

'Common sense decision'

Mr Tomlinson, from Forest Gate, said he had trouble sleeping after being branded a thief and had been seeking counselling.

"To see so many people feel my pain and feel my struggle" helped him through what was a "very difficult time" he told BBC Radio London's Vanessa Feltz Breakfast Show.

"Without these people I don't know where I would be. I cannot thank listeners enough."

He said was "looking forward" to returning to Sodexo, a private company that provides staff for the NHS, on Monday.

Michael Dooley, organiser for the GMB, which had arranged the hospital protest, said: "GMB welcome the common sense decision to reinstate Aldren to his job as hospital porter."

An appeal hearing against his sacking was scheduled to be heard next week.

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