A PHARMACIST who ordered extra drugs through his workplace to sell on to illegal dealers has been jailed after throwing his career away, a court heard.

Hussnen Abbas systematically ordered surplus amounts of tranquilisers while he was working at Boots over a period of nine months, before selling them on to friends who would deal them on the streets.

The 28-year-old, who was a relief pharmacist and so would move from branch to branch, was caught out following an investigation was launched by bosses at the town centre store in Blackburn.

Opening the case at Preston Crown Court, prosecutor Paul Dockery said: “When enquiries into his behaviour began in February 2019, it was found he had been in the practice of placing orders for Temazepam in 2mg tablets which were supplied in boxes of 28.

“Checks revealed there were no repeat prescriptions whereby patients may want such amounts of that drug and so enquiries started, going back to March 2018.”

The investigation revealed that Abbas had been in the habit of ordering drugs regardless of the store he was working at, as evidenced by his time spent in the Carnforth branch, where he regularly ordered extra supplies.

Mr Dockery said: “He was simply moving from store to store ordering as if ordering for the company but then taking home the boxes with him.

“The numbers he ordered increased as time went by.

"When the investigation had come to an end the analysis revealed that 252 boxes of Temazepam had been ordered and stolen with a smaller amount of Diazepam – 36 boxes – ordered and stolen.”

Abbas was spoken to by an internal investigator at the Blackburn store in February 2019 where he made full admissions to what he had been doing.

“He said initially he had supplied a friend from Nelson – he spoke about the money he made from the medication and said it could be up to £20 a box,’ Mr Dockery said.

He added: “Rough and ready figures show this would have made him around £5,760.

“He went on to explain he had been asked by friends for prescription drugs many times and he eventually gave in to the requests.

“Because of the admissions he was suspended. Boots say that their commercial lost was £10,270.”

Abbas, of The Paddock, Blackburn, had no previous convictions.

Defending, Julian King said: “I have no submissions that will seek to undermine the seriousness of this offending.

“This is a very sad case. He was a qualified pharmacist. Having gone through all that hard work to become a professional, he has thrown it all away.

“He wishes to ensure his life is not characterised by this very poor decision.

“He appears with the support of his family – that is not without its own difficulties. He is the sole carer for his mother.”

Temazepam is a benzodiazepine, which are prescribed to treat anxiety and severe insomnia.

Benzodiazepines are often illegally used as chill-out drugs after parties, to help people sleep after taking stimulants. Some people use them to help come down off acid, cocaine, speed or ecstasy.

Jailing Abbas for 12 months, Judge Beverley Lunt said: “You know perfectly well that the nature of the work of pharmacists who deal with numerous drugs means that a high level of trust is put into an employee.

“It is vital for the profession that the public have this trust in them – that is what make your crime so very serious.

“For a period of nine months you stole a substantial number of drugs. What makes it even worse is that you were stealing these drugs to give to other people and it plainly was not for their own use. You knew were giving them to people who were dealing them as a commodity, as a drug to profit by it.

“You yourself profited from the selling of them.

“There can be no possible excuse for what you did. An honest, upright, and trustworthy citizen would have gone to the police and told someone about it if they were under this pressure – not carry on stealing these drugs.

“Now you stand here; you have lost your job, you’ve lost your qualification and you’ve lost your good name.

“You are an intelligent man and you knew what you were doing.

“The mitigation is your previous good character, the fact you have now lost all of those things I have just listed, and your guilty plea and admissions.

“The offences are so serious punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”