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Thieving medic put £23,000 NHS haul for sale on eBay

11 March 2010

He's facing jail after investigators claim he stole goods to order

An NHS medic who stole thousands of pounds of surgical equipment to sell on eBay is facing a jail sentence.

Anaesthetic assistant Douglas Stevenson, 31 set up an international internet business after filling his garage with an "Aladdin's cave" of medical supplies worth more than £23,000.

NHS investigators who snared Stevenson believe he had been stealing goods – including surgical implants and cranial drills bits – to order for clients around the world.

Maggie Worsfold, of NHS Scotland's Counter Fraud Services, said: "What made this crime so repugnant is that Stevenson was in a unique position of trust, a trust he abused wantonly.

"His case should serve as a stark warning to anyone in a similar position that they will be found and caught if they abuse that trust."

The £30,000-a-year professional admitted theft at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday and was warned to expect a prison term when he is sentenced next month.

Stevenson was caught by police and NHS Investigators with 221 items of equipment stored in his garage and at his sister's house. Some had been taken from specialist units including a neurological ward and the hoard also included gauzes, creams and medical stitching.

He had then put the equipment on eBay for customers as far afield as Australia, the Far East and America.

Spotted

The thefts came to light after surgical equipment manufacturers spotted their products on eBay.

The trail soon led to Stevenson and his home was searched as well as that of his sister.

A total of 106 items were found in Stevenson's garage while another 115 items were uncovered at his sister's house.

They found Stevenson has been stealing vast quantities of equipment while working at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, the Southern General and Glasgow Royal Infirmary between October 2006 and November 2008. He filled his rucksack with supplies from store rooms before heading home for the night.

Stevenson, who resigned from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde before disciplinary action could be concluded, pled guilty to theft yesterday.

Linda McCaffer, prosecuting, said: "He admitted he had stolen the property from the various hospitals. He planned to sell them on eBay for a profit."

Sheriff Robert Anthony QC released him on bail while reports were prepared, but told him: "A custodial sentence is at the forefront of my mind."

An NHS spokesman said: "We are pleased that the joint efforts of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Counter Fraud Services and the other organisations who co-operated in this complex investigation have resulted in a successful criminal prosecution."

All text and photography courtesy of Daily Record