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Paramedic jailed for North West Ambulance Service defibrillator theft

ART GALLERY

A paramedic who stole thousands of pounds worth of defibrillators from an ambulance service and sold them on eBay has been jailed for three years.

Scott Sutherland stole the equipment in 2017 and 2018 while working for North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

The 48-year-old then returned to steal more in 2020, after being transferred to South Western Ambulance Service, according to evidence presented at Liverpool Crown Court.

Sutherland’s “fall from grace had been spectacular,” according to Judge David Potter.

He had received a commendation in 2012 for his work with other paramedics to use a defibrillator to save someone’s life.

‘Financial dire straits’

“If ever there was evidence of the value of defibrillator equipment, the efforts you and others put into saving that man’s life with the use of a defibrillator proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt,” the judge said.

Sutherland, who worked for NWAS from 1996 to 2019, went to ambulance stations in Bootle and Kirkby in Merseyside, as well as Runcorn in Cheshire, overnight on 11 February 2020, wearing a paramedic uniform and entering a pin code, according to the court.

He took three defibrillators and a battery-charging pack worth over £30,000, causing some ambulances to be taken off the road.

CCTV footage from Runcorn Ambulance Station captured Scott Sutherland dressed in NWAS uniform

Police discovered emails indicating he had been in contact with a man named Norbert Simon, who was based in the Czech Republic, about the purchase of defibrillators.

The court heard that between 2017 and 2020, more than £60,000 in transactions were made between Mr Simon and Sutherland’s and his wife’s PayPal accounts.

Sutherland had several eBay accounts selling medical equipment, according to the court, and between 2013 and 2019, he sold more than £108,000 worth of goods, including two defibrillators confirmed to have been stolen from NWAS.

Sutherland, of Pearse Gardens in Modbury, Devon, admitted to two counts of theft and two counts of burglary.

Martine Snowdon, defending, stated that the father-of-five chose a “challenging and selfless career” that placed him at the “frontlines” of trauma.

“It has taken its toll on him over many years of doing that, not just to a competent standard, but to an exceptional standard,” she said.

She claimed Sutherland suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that evidence showed he and his family were in “dire straits” financially by the end of 2019.

Roger Jones, NWAS’s head of service in Merseyside and Cheshire, described it as “incredibly disappointing” that a former employee “would take advantage of his position to steal these life-saving pieces of equipment.”

SourceBBC
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