AN Ayrshire Central Hospital worker who stole £1.3million of vital medical equipment – then sold it for just £70,000 – has been jailed.

Daniel Dreghorn, of Skelmorlie Road, Kilwinning, was sentenced to four years in prison at Glasgow High Court last Wednesday, September 2.

The heartless 39-year-old swiped the haul over two years from his job within the decontamination unit at Ayrshire Central Hospital.

The items taken included life-saving equipment used on cancer patients which he flogged online to buyers in the USA and Hong Kong.

As he was led away to begin his sentence Dreghorn mouthed: “sorry” to hospital staff who were sitting in the public benches.

Judge Lord Turnbull told Dreghorn: “You pleaded guilty to the theft of a vast quantity of equipment purchased by the taxpayer for the common good.

“You denied to vulnerable patients this vital equipment. You showed a wholly callous level of indifference.” He added that this theft affected those “requiring urgent medical care.” Lord Turnbull said that he took into account Dreghorn’s previous good character and work record.

The court was told that one operation had to be cancelled as a result of the theft. Dreghorn was only snared in March 2014 when a patient sparked a probe after an operation was suddenly cancelled.

This was due to medics not having the appropriate equipment as a result of Dreghorn’s heinous theft.

When police later raided his home, officers discovered some of the equipment still stashed in his garden hut.

The court heard how each stolen item has a unique identification number, which allows it to be tracked around the hospital system.

But, between October 2012 and July 2014, Dreghorn managed to steal 136 pieces of medical equipment.

This included a device used on patients suffering from prostrate cancer. A camera – inserted into a patient to help a surgeon carry out treatment – was also amongst the stolen haul.

A stock take was carried out and it revealed a large quantity of equipment – totalling £1.28m - was missing.

It was also discovered trays carrying the items had been scanned back in after use – but not the equipment.

Records showed Dreghorn was the supervisor on duty at those times.

Yesterday solicitor advocate John Keenan, representing Dreghorn, described the theft as “reprehensible” and said that Dreghorn was remorseful.

Mr Keenan added: “Some of the money was used for treats for his children after his relationship broke up.

“He thought it would mean he would get greater access.” The court was told that most of the rest of the money was frittered away.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar told the court: “Dreghorn stole the equipment prior to sterilisation.

“These specialist medical devices present a serious health risk if they are not cleaned, decontaminated and sterilised in the proper way.” The prosecutor said it was “quite possible” some patients the items had been used on could have had HIV or Hepatitis C.

But, Dreghorn – despite having extensive training on infection control – decided to cash in by selling off the equipment.

He was initially held at his work in July last year and told police he “knew why they were there”.

Mr McVicar said: “His bank statements show PayPal payments being paid into his account amounting to £70,000.” When detectives raided Dreghorn’s house, they found he had splashed the cash on expensive televisions, computers and games consoles.