A FRAUDSTER pharmacist stole £15,000 worth of drugs from local pharmacies to use for his online business.

Modie Al-shakarchi used a fake name to order and take drugs stocked in a pharmacy in Birkenhead and Runcorn, where he was working as a ‘trusted’ freelance locum dispenser.

The 34-year-old, of Buchan Close, Great Sankey, appeared before Chester Crown Court on Tuesday for sentencing, having entered a guilty plea right before a trial was set to commence for the offences of fraud and theft.

Oliver Saddington, prosecuting, told the courts how Al-shakarchi was working at a Superdrug in Birkenhead at the time of the first set of offences which took place between August 31, 2021 and March 22, 2022.

A worker at the branch noticed an order had been placed for a quantity of the weight loss drug Rybelsus and that an amount had gone missing from the shop back in January, 2022.

She then noticed, following a delivery to the branch of a shingles vaccination, Shingrix, that a quantity of this drug had gone missing too.

Speaking on the evidence provided to the police by the shop worker, Mr Saddington said: “She remembered that the defendant used to bring a backpack to work with special compartments to store the drugs.

“She noticed that he always wanted to be on the computer.”

On March 31, 2022, when a stock check was carried out at the branch, more drugs were flagged up as missing and had not been dispensed, this time the drug being Norditropin.

Warrington Guardian: Modie Al-shakarchi Modie Al-shakarchi (Image: Supplied)
Al-shakarchi also worked at a Wells Pharmacy branch in Runcorn and committed similar acts of theft and fraud, with the offences taking place between January 26 to May 30, 2022.

Mr Saddington explained that during his time at the branch as a locum dispenser, the defendant would place orders deceptively under the alias ‘Tina Test’ for drugs including Rybelsus.

On one instance, where it was noticed a box of drugs had disappeared from stock, staff at the shop checked the CCTV footage which showed the defendant taking the drugs from the stock room and placing them in his backpack.

It materialised that Al-shakarchi had been stealing the drugs to sell on his legitimate online pharmacy business.

And while he was authorised to sell the drugs online, due to outstanding unpaid invoices, he could no longer afford to source the drugs he needed to give to his paying customers and began using the stolen stock from the pharmacies instead.

The stock taken and sold by Al-shakarchi amounted to an eye-watering sum of £15,000.

The defendant was arrested and interviewed by police at Runcorn station in October 2022 where he stated that he only ever improved the pharmacy branches he worked in, adding that the Runcorn shop was a ‘disaster’ before he came to work there.

He also denied having heard of the ‘Tina Test’ name, while accepting that he did take stock from the storeroom but that he had permission to do so.

It was heard that the defendant had a clean record prior to the offences.

Defending, Nicholas Clarke said: “For this period of time he became rather self-centred.

“He never intended to cause any harm. The difficulty with an educated man coming to court is firstly he should have known better.”

Mr Clarke said his client is now currently studying for a masters and has hopes of becoming a computer game developer, with a PHD lined up to – since his career as a pharmacist is over.

Addressing Al-shakarchi before sentencing, Honour Judge Stephen Everett said: “This is a spectacular fall from grace.

“For many years you had built up a very good reputation as a pharmacist. Unfortunately for reasons that are not clear to me you made a decision for your online pharmacy business, and you used your ill-gotten gains to sell drugs that you were not entitled to sell.

“It is clear that you were authorised to sell them drugs, but you sold drugs that did not belong to you.”

Judge Everett stated to the defendant that he had ‘breached significant trust’ and referring to the victim statements added that what came across from those was how ‘shocked’ the shop workers were that the defendant had committed such crimes.

The defendant was handed a 16-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

He was ordered to carry out 10 rehabilitation requirement days and 150 hours of unpaid work.

The Judge added: “This is your big chance to change your life now.”