A mother-of-three who sold nearly £30,000 of products prescribed to her by the NHS for a fraction of the value has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Tracy Botwright, 36, of Calais Street, Hadleigh, began her illegal sales when staff at her local pharmacy refused to accept back stocks of a foodstuff she no longer needed.
On Friday, Ipswich Crown Court heard how Botwright then failed to say she did not need the product and continued to collect supplies for nine months, selling it on internet auction site eBay.
Botwright, who pleaded guilty to an offence of fraud, was told by Miss Recorder Samantha Leigh that what she had done represented a loss to every taxpayer and came at a time when the NHS was under considerable financial pressure.
Passing a sentence of 20 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months, Botwright was told that she would also be under probation service supervision for a year.
Prosecutor Michael Crimp said Botwright had, through her sales on eBay, netted about £6,300. All the sales had been to the same buyer.
In mitigation, Neil Saunders said his client had been in financial difficulties at the time of the offence and had been approached to sell the product she was regularly obtaining.
Mr Saunders said it was possible that the financial loss to the NHS was less than the £30,000 stated by the prosecution.
Botwright had expressed considerable remorse, said Mr Saunders. He said: “This has been hugely salutary.”
Sentencing her, Miss Recorder Leigh told Botwright: “You took advantage of the fact that you were being given prescription products.
“When you realised that you could sell it, and someone contacted you to ask if you had any more, you proceeded to gain more.”
Miss Recorder Leigh warned Botwright: “This is the only chance that you are going to get. If you breach this order, you will come back to court. As night follows day, you know what will happen to you.”