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Fake online pharmacist found with 50,000 pills jailed for six years

“Unlicensed chemist” Christopher Depp mailed a range of prescription drugs from his home to “vulnerable people”, local police have revealed.

An Essex man has been jailed for selling prescription drugs online as an “unlicensed chemist”, Essex Police revealed on Friday (February 16).

Christopher Depp, 49, who was also known as David Jones, used social media and messaging applications to supply mainly prescription drugs to “vulnerable people”, the police said.

Mr Depp was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment at Chelmsford Crown Court last week (February 14), it added.

Read more: Pharmacist struck off after death threats, harassment and cocaine use

He had confessed to “offering to supply” a Class A controlled drug, possessing a Class B controlled drug and “being concerned in the supply of” Class B and Class C controlled drugs among other charges, according to the police.

A July 2023 raid on Mr Depp’s address in Wood Street, Chelmsford, led police to the discovery of more than 50,000 “pills and tablets” that he had stored in toolboxes and other “spaces” around the property, it said.

These included prescription and controlled drugs of varying types, it added.

 

 “Large-scale sale and shipping”

 

Mr Depp advertised prescription drugs on social media channels and shipped “a range of” medication across the UK using the postal service, Essex Police said. 

His “sophisticated set-up” meant that he could handle “large-scale sale and shipping” of controlled drugs, it added.

He had a dedicated office at his property for processing and shipping orders and he accepted payment from his “large customer base” using bank accounts that had been “fraudulently obtained”, according to the police.

Read more: ‘Large quantity’ of prescription-only drugs stolen in late night pharmacy raid

Essex Police detective inspector Frazer Low said that Mr Depp’s was an “unusual case” since he was mostly supplying prescription drugs.

Mr Low added that Mr Depp had “no regard” for how much medication his “customers” bought or the “reasons for their consumption”. 

“This was not a service for those in need, it was run as a business preying upon often vulnerable people seeking medication for their illnesses, putting them at risk," he said.

 

Crime latest

 

It comes as C+D this week reported that Northern Ireland pharmacist Richard Lyness had been removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) register after being convicted on 18 charges over three court cases between 2021 and 2023. 

Mr Lyness’s convictions included harassment and sending sectarian death threats, and he admitted repeated cocaine use to the regulator.

Read more: Arrests made after Christmas Day pharmacy break-in

Last week, Merseyside Police revealed that large quantities of prescription-only medications (POMs) were stolen from a West Derby pharmacy, including diazepam, codeine, co-codamol, pregabalin and zopiclone.

And in January, Staffordshire Police announced five arrests in connection with a burglary at a Stoke-on-Trent pharmacy that had a “a large amount of prescription medication” stolen during a Christmas Day break-in.

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