A 53-year-old woman has been jailed for four months for stealing drugs from a doctor's office while she was a patient at the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.

Joan Esther Kernan admitted stealing steroids, other medication, medical equipment and a dictaphone and unlawful possession of steroids.

A prosecutor told Fermanagh Court the theft was discovered at approximately 6.15am on July 13, as Kernan was in the process of being discharged from the hospital. A staff nurse told police Kernan arrived at the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department at 4.25am. The Department became very busy around 5.30am and she discovered Kernan wandering around carrying a bag. It was found to contain medication and other medical items.

The prosecutor said a consultant told police the medication, including controlled drugs and steroids, was stored in locked drawers in his office in a restricted area. The drugs were no longer fit for use.

Kernan told police: "I just wanted to take them." Defence barrister, Mr. Brian O'Sullivan, said Kernan, from Winters Gardens, Omagh, had a particularly difficult early life and developed an alcohol and drug dependency. She did a law degree at Queens University in Belfast and was the mother of three grown-up children. She had been in custody for the better part of this year and sought the help of professional services. She realised she would have to address the alcohol issues at the centre of her offending. She was under the influence when she went to the hospital.

District Judge Liam McNally told Kernan she had a bad criminal record and had not taken advantage of community-type sentences and probation in the past.