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Vigilant pharmacist helps nab fraudster who committed £40k script scam

A London man has been jailed for using “false” scripts to obtain restricted drugs for two years - until an alert pharmacist found him out, according to local police.

Liam Brickley of Shropshire Close, Mitcham, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after he used faked prescriptions to acquire around £40,000-worth of drugs including diazepam and oxycodone, Bedfordshire Police announced on Friday (July 28).

 

Over the course of two years, Mr Brickley, 49, had used 92 “false” prescriptions under four aliases to get drugs from “numerous” pharmacies across Luton and Dunstable, it said.

 

But in March 2022, a pharmacist recognised Mr Brickley from a shift she had worked at a different pharmacy two days prior and raised an alarm with her supervisor, it added.

 

Read more: Revealed: No prosecutable fraud cases against pharmacy contractors since 2021

 

Checks carried out on the scripts he had given the pharmacy revealed that they were “fraudulent”, the force said.

 

The following day, Mr Brickley visited another pharmacy and again used a false prescription with no NHS number and in an outdated format, according to Bedfordshire Police.

 

CCTV footage helped the police identify Mr Brickley, who was arrested, charged with “fraud offences" and then released on bail “pending further enquiries”, it said.

 

Read more: Government to target pharmacy contractor fraud under new strategy

 

However, Mr Brickley offended again while out on bail and was again arrested in December 2022 and “further charged with a number of fraud and drug offences”, it added.   

 

A search of his home and car uncovered “a number of false prescriptions, blank prescriptions, three boxes of diazepam and a pack of oxycodone”, Bedfordshire Police said.

 

Read more: Botox and fillers: ‘Thousands’ of unlicensed meds seized in Bolton raids

 

Officers also found “several” pieces of paper with practice signatures relating to two GP surgeries, it added.

 

Mr Brickley’s faked scripts used the names of doctors from two different GP practices, neither of whom still worked at the clinics in question and who therefore “hadn’t issued any of the prescriptions in question”, police said.

 

 

“No remorse”

 

 

Mr Brickley appeared at Luton Crown Court on July 21 and pleaded guilty to several counts of “the use of a false prescription for a scheduled drug, possession of an article for use in fraud and possession of Class A and Class C drugs”, according to the force.

 

He was sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment, it said.

 

Bedfordshire Police detective sergeant Emma Huggett, who investigated the case, said that Mr Brickley had shown “no remorse” for defrauding the NHS of “an estimated £40,000”. 

 

Read more: Man who made millions from illegally selling POMs online jailed for five years

 

“I am glad that Brickley has received a custodial sentence for his fraudulent actions, particularly as he had the audacity to continue offending even after he was caught the first time,” she added.

 

It comes amid questions about the level of fraud within the community pharmacy sector itself, with contractor fraud chosen as a priority area under the government’s new counter-fraud strategy last month.

 

But C+D revealed last week that the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) had converted no fraud reports against community pharmacy contractors into prosecutions in more than two years. 

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