FOUR people involved in a NHS defrauding conspiracy in Gloucestershire have been sentenced to more than 10 years jail.

Royston Dyke was employed by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNFT) as the Associate Director of Capital and Development, where one of his responsibilities included approving contractor invoices.

Dyke had been employed by the trust and the NHS for many years, before being suspended and later having his employment terminated.

It was revealed through investigations led by Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and Gloucestershire Constabulary that, in total, 204 invoices - typically worth £3,000 and £5,000 - were submitted.

The majority of these invoices were for work that had never taken place. Dyke signed the majority of the invoices with GHNFT, which was defrauded to the value of £655,013.

The 49-year-old was sentenced in May at Bristol Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud, along with three others, who were friends of Dyke.

They are Peter Potente, 54, who ran PSP Decorators Ltd, and Graham Fallows, 59, and Vince Smith, 58, who ran Longlevens Building and Roofing Ltd (LBR).

Suspicions were raised through the trust’s internal process due to Dyke’s particular interest in signing off invoices submitted by PSP and LBR as well as the lack of recognition of work carried out on the days claimed.

Following the suspicions, an investigation was launched by Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and Gloucestershire Constabulary.

It was later revealed that Dyke used the money he defrauded to pay for a lavish lifestyle, as well as renovating his home and his family’s through LBR, which was owned at the time by Fallows and Smith.

Richard Rippin, head of operations at the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said: “The authority commends the great work the Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and Gloucestershire Constabulary have done together in tackling fraud.

"Their collaborative efforts have ensured that four people who thought they could take advantage of the NHS have been brought to justice.

"Money intended for patient care should stay where it belongs, in the public purse."