A pharmacist has revealed the extent of crimes in chemists across Blackpool after fraudulent prescriptions were used to access drugs.
Whitworth Chemists, which has pharmacies on Whitegate Drive and Charles Street in Blackpool, Bloomfield Road in South Shore, and Kingscote Drive in Layton, were forced to place signs in their windows warning offenders their staff were aware of incidents and arrests would be made if bogus prescriptions were used.
One experienced pharmacist told The Gazette Blackpool is widely affected and has seen people adding extra medication to their prescriptions.
He said: “In one place I’ve worked in I saw three incidents a month.
“Usually prescriptions are stolen from surgeries and that’s anything they can get their hands on, but usually ones with a high street value.
“It’s one of the biggest problems in Blackpool.
“I’ve worked in Carlisle and Leicester and I haven’t seen it as much there as I have here.
“We are doing all we can to combat the problem by working with the police.”
Leanne Williams, a manager at the Co-Operative Pharmacy, in Grange Park, said: “If a pharmacy in Blackpool comes across a stolen prescription they alert the NHS who then alert all the other pharmacies in the area.
“We are now using the Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions (ETP) system to protect prescribers from these problems.
“Only pharmacists going into care homes are using the forms now and eventually there will be no such thing as prescription pads, it will all be done through ETP, which is the future outlook of the NHS.”
In March, fraudulent prescriptions were handed in to pharmacies on Devonshire Road and Grasmere Road, in Blackpool, after blank forms were stolen from Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
David Brewer, 31, of Furness Avenue, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to four offences of dishonestly making a false representation, plus another of adapting an article to commit fraud.
Det Sgt Mark Dickinson said: “We would encourage any one who believes they come across a fraudulent prescription to contact us immediately.
“We encourage pharmacists and other health professionals to take care when they are examining prescriptions for controlled drugs, and exercise caution.”
Call police on 101.