A doctor who injected himself with drugs stolen from his employers in a bid to cope with excessive hours was found guilty of theft and illegal possession by magistrates last week.

Simon Hetherington tried to 'beef himself up' with the heroin derivative diamorphine and pain-killer pethidine while working up to 80 hours a week at Leicester Royal Infirmary trust, a court heard.

He was making a desperate 'cry for help' after suffering psychological problems because of his huge workload, magistrates were told.

Dr Hetherington was a general doctor on a clinical ward and also dealt with emergency admissions at the trust.

He made false entries in the hospital's drugs control book between August and December last year, taking small amounts of drugs 'simply to relieve the pressures of work'.

'Clearly this was a significant breach of trust, ' said Elaine Jones, prosecuting.

Dr Hetherington admitted theft of the drugs and two charges of illegally possessing them.

Christopher Deavin, defending said:

'He was working excessive hours. Sixty hours a week was normal and up to 80 hours was not unusual.'

The doctor had stopped taking drugs and had sought treatment from a consultant psychiatrist.

Dr Hetherington was granted unconditional bail and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.