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

Girish Pandya,of Kenton Lane, lost a High Court hearing on Friday May 9 and now owes the London Strategic Health Authority £560,000.

According to Judge Andrew Park, Pandya was "a minor player in a dishonest plot" between 1998 and 2001 but has never faced criminal proceedings.

Pandya's role in the deceit was to supply 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 authority,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.

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.