Northern Ireland news

Paramedic who stole from Boots while on duty 'couldn't recollect' the incident

Michael Penney, a Belfast paramedic, is facing a 'fitness to practice' hearing in Belfast following a theft
Seanín Graham

A PARAMEDIC who received a police caution after he stole from a Belfast city centre shop while on duty has appeared before a professional misconduct hearing.

Michael Penney from Belfast, who is an employee of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) was charged with theft after he went into the main Boots store at Donegall Place and took £60 worth of goods in December 2015.

Mr Penney, who was based at Ardoyne ambulance station, was in uniform on the day of the offence and in charge of a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) - smaller 999 cars driven by a single paramedic who can get to patients quickly to administer life-saving treatment.

The regulatory 'fitness to practice' hearing, which took place in Belfast yesterday, heard that he had initially denied the theft and told bosses he "couldn't recollect" the incident due to a health condition.

However, Mr Penney subsequently produced the items - which were in a plastic bag - and returned them to Boots.

He appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court in March 2016 where he received the caution.

According to his Facebook account, Mr Penney is currently running a private company that provides First Aid Training, with prices ranging £175 per person for a 'level 3' course that includes 'control of haemorrhage' and 'burn trauma management'.

During yesterday's hearing by the Health and Care Professionals Tribunal Service - who were acting on behalf of the regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council - an application was made to have part of the evidence heard "in private".

Mr Penney, who was present with a family member to act as support but had no lawyer to represent him, agreed to the application.

It was agreed that all evidence focussing on health related matters were to be dealt with privately.

The hearing is scheduled to sit for the rest of the week.

It is understood Mr Penney is currently suspended from NIAS.


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