A drugs salesman from Kenton helped rip off the NHS to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Girish Pandya, of Kenton Lane, was "a minor player in a dishonest plot" between 1998 and 2001 but has never faced criminal proceedings.

He lost a High Court hearing on Friday May 9 and now owes the London Strategic Health Authority (SHA) £560,000.

The judgment of Judge Andrew Park confirmed Pandya's role in the deceit - supplying 3,773 blank prescription slips stolen from 40 GP surgeries across London.

The forms found their way to a network of seven chemist shops across the capital, where other swindlers would fill out the slips for non-existent drugs.

They fraudulently claimed the money back from the SHA, as though the medicine had been genuinely dispensed to patients.

In total, the ruse drained £429,249 from the public purse and Pandya regularly received supplies of prescription drugs in exchange for his role in the scam.

There was no concrete evidence the salesman physically stole the prescription slips himself but the judge said that, however the documents ended up in his possession, he must have known they had been obtained illegally and were going to be used for dishonest means.

At the court hearing, Pandya was ordered to pay the SHA £213,448 in damages, £190,000 in legal costs and £156,000 in interest, but was given permission to appeal.