AAH says it screens its drivers after three men sentenced for theft

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AAH says it screens its drivers after three men sentenced for theft

By Neil Trainis

AAH Pharmaceuticals has said it puts all its delivery drivers through vetting processes whether they are employed directly or subcontracted after three men were sentenced yesterday for stealing some of the wholesaler’s drugs worth thousands of pounds so they could be sold on the black market.

Richard Gaskell, Tristan Keddie and David Tilley, who were subcontracted to work as van drivers for AAH, had pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by employee after they stole painkillers including tramadol, codeine and dihydrocodeine while delivering medicines to pharmacies in the North West during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

According to the Liverpool Echo, the three participated in a scheme with another unidentified individual who the prosecution said made fake orders for medicines over the phone on behalf of pharmacies. Gaskell, Keddie and Tilley then stole the medicines with the intention of selling them on.

The court heard that because pharmacies were placing a large number of orders for medicines at the time and using a call centre to place new orders, they may not have noticed the bogus orders at an early stage. 

A spokesperson for AAH told Independent Community Pharmacist that it has “a number of diligence processes in place” which allowed it “to identify the issue and report it to the relevant authorities and the police.”

“All our drivers, employed directly by us or through subcontractor agencies, are subject to vetting processes. Our vigilance continues so that we can minimise the risk of incidents of this kind and ensure the safe handling and delivery of medicines to our partners across the country,” AAH said.

The men were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court. Gaskell, of Shaw Road, Hesketh Bank, was sentenced to six months suspended for 12 months and told to undergo 25 rehabilitation days while Keddie, of Northway, Warrington, was given nine months suspended for 18 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days.

Tilley, of Scott Road, Southport, who was linked to £269.40 of the £22,300 AAH said it lost as a result of the scam during the court hearing, was handed a 12-month community order, 20 rehabilitation days and told to pay the court £30 a month to clear his debt. Gaskell and Keddie were linked to nearly £7,000 of AAH’s losses.

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