United Kingdom

NHS stuck with £130,000 bill after a burglar stole a hospital master key and went on a crime spree

Gareth Parkin, 36, cost the NHS £130,000 after stealing a master key for a series of break-ins at the Royal Derby Hospital

A burglar cost the NHS £130,000 after stealing a hospital master key which forced bosses to replace 1,500 locks.

Maintenance man Gareth Parkin used the key in a series of break-ins at the Royal Derby Hospital, stealing handbags from staff members.

The 36-year-old was jailed for two years and three months after admitting burglary and fraud at Derby Crown Court.

Hospital site manager Simon Marriott said in a statement the theft of the master key ‘caused a massive security risk’.

Parkin, of Chaddesden, Derby, used the bank cards he stole to buy goods to sell to fund his drug addiction.

A spokesman for the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust said: 'Offences such as this detract from the amount of money the Trust is able to invest into patient care.'

Prosecutor Joey Kwong told the court, 'The site manager at the Royal Derby Hospital, Simon Marriott, has provided a statement for the court. 

'He says the master key being taken has caused a massive security risk.

'All 1,500 locks have had to be changed and the current estimate as to how much it has cost is £128,749.02.

'He says it is a figure the hospital just can't afford.'

Mr Kwong said Parkin worked for a contractor at the hospital, firstly as a gardener and then a maintenance worker for four years but left three years before the offending there happened.

He said in just over a month, during February and March this year, the defendant committed seven burglaries at the site, using the master key to get into the staff offices.

He was jailed for two years and three months after admitting to burglary and fraud at Derby Crown Court (file image)

Mr Kwong said: 'He knew all areas of the site like the back of his hand and abused his knowledge to carry out the burglaries.'

Parkin pleaded guilty to burglary and fraud and was jailed for two years and three months.

Judge Nirmal Shant QC told him: 'It is quite plain you used your inside knowledge of the hospital, gleaned from four years working there, to carry out that set of offences.'

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