Bedfordshire couple accused of stealing from the NHS cleared

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The husband and wife behind a private ambulance service have spoken out about their year of hell since they were arrested and accused of stealing equipment from the NHS.

The case against Jim and Sue Farrell collapsed last week, before a Crown Court jury even heard their defence.

Bedfordshire police and the CPS agreed to offer no more evidence after Judge Michael Kay questioned the prosecution case against the Marston Mortaine couple.

Now the police professional standards bosses are investigating a complaint about how police officers handled the case.

Paramedic Jim Farrell worked full-time for East of England Ambulance Service while Sue ran Thames Valley Ambulance and Paramedic Service.

A private company, it hired out ambulances and medics to functions. It also provided medical training.

On March 31 last year Bedfordshire Police raided the ambulance premises, accompanied by one of Sue’s former employees Mark Wells-Pestell, Luton Crown Court head.

Jim 46, was charged with stealing a thermometer, a defibrillator, a neck brace and a wheelchair from the NHS. Sue, also 46, was charged with handling the stolen items.

The Farrells, who claim they were framed, say basic ambulance stock items are often treated as communal.

“We’ve been treated as criminals over nothing and we’ve been through hell and back. Our lives have been ruined, we have suffered enormous stress and I have been suicidal with worry,” said Jim.

Despite his exemplary record a paramedic, he was suspended by East of Ambulance Service shortly after the arrest.

Thames Valley Ambulance service had to stop running as Sue also struggled with the effects of stress.

Now the couple are determined to get the service up and running again.

“We are hoping, with the help of the public we served over the years, to relaunch and continue the good work,” said Jim.

The couple’s lawyers have put in an official complaint against the two police officers in the case.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire police said: “We can confirm we have received a complaint in relation to this case.

“It has been passed to our Professional Standards Department and will be thoroughly investigated.”