A former mental health nurse who posed as hospital staff in a bid to fuel her crippling addiction to a controlled drug has been sentenced to a community order at Bradford Crown Court.

Sally Davies dressed as a nurse in a desperate attempt to steal Dihydrocodeine after becoming hooked on the strong painkiller when it was prescribed long-term for a serious knee injury.

Davies, 43, of Old Manse Croft, Oxenhope, Keighley, pleaded guilty to four offences of entering hospital wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Hospital between August 20, 2017, and September 11, 2018, with intent to steal.

She also admitted three charges of fraud by assuming the identity of two friends to obtain Dihydrocodeine.

Prosecutor Philip Adams said yesterday that Davies was a mental health nurse at Airedale Hospital but she was dismissed in 2013 for gross misconduct for misuse of controlled drugs and falsifying a prescription.

She had developed a crippling addiction to Dihydrocodeine after suffering a badly dislocated knee in 2011. The drug was prescribed long-term and she became tolerant to it, and then dependant on it.

Davies posed as a pharmacist and a nurse to trick her way into secure areas at the hospitals to steal the drugs.

She dressed smartly and wore a lanyard to try to get into a clinical room at Bradford Royal Infirmary. When she was challenged, she said she was from St Luke’s Hospital.

Davies then tried twice in one day to steal the drug from Calderdale Hospital and then Bradford Royal Infirmary. When interviewed by the police, she said it wasn’t her on the CCTV footage.

In September last year, she was back at Bradford Royal Infirmary, this time dressed as a nurse with an identity card. When ward staff became suspicious, she claimed to be looking for a syringe.

The court heard that none of the attempts to steal from the wards were successful.

Davies then committed fraud by using the personal details of two close friends to obtain Dihydrocodeine from accident and emergency centres and walk-in health centres.

Mr Adams said the women she impersonated had been left with a sense of disbelief, upset and anger. Both said she needed help and rehabilitation.

Her solicitor advocate, Tom Rushbrooke, said: “It is a sad case of a woman of 43 years old who worked in the National Health Service as a mental health nurse for many years.”

He continued: “She is deeply ashamed. She has lost her career and good character and many of her friends as a result of her behaviour.”

Davies was a kind and caring person with a lot to give.

Such addiction to painkillers was becoming quite a widespread problem, Mr Rushbrooke stated.

Davies was a good mother who was terrified of going to prison.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, sentenced her to a two-year community order with a nine-month drug rehabilitation activity requirement and a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days.

The case emphasised the risk of prescribing strong painkillers for too long.

“You have become addicted to and obsessed with finding this painkiller,” he said.

“You must have hated yourself and been terrified when you went into those hospitals.”

Judge Durham Hall told Davies to comply with the order because it would be “horrendous” to have to send her to prison.