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A crooked pharmacist who sold sleeping pills under the counter to a vulnerable patient for more than a year has been spared jail.

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Roger Davies, 72, who worked at a chemist in Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, pocketed up to £1,000 from selling drugs to the woman when doctors were trying to wean her off of them.

He told her the arrangement had to stop after routine checks by regulators revealed poor book-keeping in late 2010.

The patient, who was at one point spending £80 a week on 10 times the normal dose of Zolpidem, then reported him to the authorities. Investigators combed through around 7,000 prescriptions and discovered he had also illegally handed out a potent painkiller to a second patient.

Kevin McCartney, defending, said Davies faced a severe sanction by the General Pharmaceutical Council after some 50 years’ practice.

Davies, of Florence Road, Finsbury Park, who is on a £25,000-a-year pension, was due to stand trial last week but pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying a class C drug between September 1 2009 and October 6 2010 at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Judge Henry Blacksell, QC, gave him a six months suspended sentence with costs of £2,470.

Sgt Caroline Fox, who the judge commended along with colleagues for their work, said outside court that Davies was only concerned with making money and added: “He took advantage of a vulnerable patient whose health actually ended up in a worse state after visiting him.”

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