A hospital patient helped himself to £200 of medical equipment and NHS staff’s belongings – then asked for a lift home in an ambulance.
Michael John Hesketh, who had been given emergency treatment just before the thefts, was today branded “despicable” by police.
Officers believe he walked around treatment rooms in A&E at the Royal Preston Hospital, helping himself to belongings, while waiting for the free ride from the ambulance.
Hesketh’s crimes were discovered when he asked the ambulance driver to stop close to some trees on the way out of the hospital.
The suspicious driver refused to continue the journey and instead went to the wooded area, off Sharoe Green Lane, Fulwood, to investigate, and found Hesketh’s stash of stolen items.
It included scalpels, medical scissors, a dictaphone, headphones, NHS socks, latex gloves, pens and wipes, along with two radios, and a member of staff’s Preston North End tracksuit.
Hesketh, 29, of Mark Close, Penwortham, admitted entering the hospital as a trespasser on October 12, when he appeared before Preston Magistrates’ Court.
He also admitted stealing two bottles of wine on October 2 from a Post Office store on Leyland Road, Penwortham, and helping himself to a bottle of wine and a phone from the Chinese Buffet in Preston city centre on October 5.
Insp Russ Morgan, of Fulwood police, said: “This is a despicable crime. The staff treated him and he took property from them - and then had the audacity to ask for a lift home.”
Jim Lloyd, security manager of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Thousands of people pass through our hospitals every day and I’m pleased to say that incidents of theft are relatively uncommon.
“We take the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of patients, visitors and staff extremely seriously.
“We also advise patients, visitors and staff to look after their personal property while they are in hospital.”
Hesketh was remanded in custody by the bench, who deemed it likely he would abscond or offend, until sentencing on November 5.