A MAN has pleaded guilty to stealing equipment from the Countess of Chester Hospital – including a defibrillator – while he worked there.

Luke Andrew Brown, 22, of Newnham Drive, Ellesmere Port, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft by employee when he appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, November 20.

Prosecuting, Simon Green said the offences occurred between June 20 and August 23.

A total of £3,000 of equipment was stolen from the NHS Foundation Trust, while numerous electrical items including the defibrillator, collectively valued at £8,736, was stolen from the Countess of Chester Hospital.

The offences happened while Brown was employed as a receptionist and there was CCTV evidence showing him stealing the equipment.

IT equipment stolen included an iPad, a Thinkpad laptop and a hard drive.

All the equipment except for the iPad was recovered.

Mr Green added Brown had no previous convictions.

Defending, Chris Hunt said the thefts were not sophisticated and the majority of items stolen could be classed as office equipment.

The stolen items were "basically sat in his bedroom" for months.

He had a number of issues, including ones related to mental health, and the thefts were in effect a "cry for help".

Brown "did not know" why he had stolen the defibrillator, which the court understood was one in hospital storage.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders said Brown would get full credit for his guilty plea and adjourned sentencing for a pre-sentence report to be obtained.

He warned that a custodial sentence "remains an option", as well as the possibility of the case being committed to Chester Crown Court.

He acknowledged the seriousness of the case of stealing from a hospital trust "in the current climate".

Brown will be sentenced at Chester Magistrates Court on December 22.