Glasgow & West Scotland

Hospital worker in 'massive' £1.3m theft

ayr central
Image caption Dreghorn worked at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine

A hospital worker stole £1.3m of medical equipment then sold it for just £70,000, a court has heard.

Daniel Dreghorn, 39, took the haul over a two-year period while working in the decontamination unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine.

He pleaded guilty to a theft charge and was remanded in custody until sentencing in September.

Judge Lord Turnbull told the court it was theft on a "massive scale" and said the crime was "shockingly cynical".

Dreghorn was employed as a supervisor at the Central Decontamination Unit, which sterilises all medical devices for theatres and clinics within the health board's area.

The court heard how each item has a unique identification number, which allows it to be tracked around the hospital system.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar told how between October 2012 and July 2014 Dreghorn managed to steal 136 pieces of medical equipment.

The crime only came to light when a patient complained to NHS Ayrshire and Arran about an operation being cancelled.

A stock-take was carried out and it revealed a large quantity of equipment totalling £1.28m was missing.

Serious health risk

It was also discovered trays carrying the items had been scanned back in after use but not the equipment.

Records showed Dreghorn was the supervisor on duty at those times.

Mr McVicar told the court Dreghorn stole the equipment prior to sterilisation, which posed a serious health risk if they were not cleaned.

When arrested, Dreghorn admitted he had sold the goods to companies in Hong Kong and the USA.

Dreghorn said he had £1,000 remaining in a PayPal account but that the rest had been spent.

The prosecutor said: "From the existing tight budget, the health board is unable to fund the replacement of the stolen items."

Lord Turnbull deferred sentence on the first offender for reports.

He told Dreghorn: "You have pled guilty to an offence which displayed shockingly, cynical conduct.

"This was a theft on a massive scale of sophisticated medical equipment."

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