Rogue dentist kept hedgehogs in clinic

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A rogue dentist illegally practised on people for two years in a filthy clinic where he kept HEDGEHOGS.

Unregistered Robert Webb, a former dental technician, operated in ‘cluttered, dusty and very dirty conditions’, a court heard.

The 60 year-old also kept his dog in a cage at his town centre practice as well as two rescue hedgehogs in a kitchen next to the treatment room.

Magistrates heard that Webb had worked as a dental technician for more than 40 years.

But he was struck off the register of dental care professionals in November 2014 for failing to keep up with required retraining.

Despite that the father-of-two ran his own business, Webb’s Dental Dentures clinic in Hitchin.

He was exposed when undercover investigators from the General Dental Council visited in June.

Prosecutor Jenny Stewart said one of them approached Webb posing as a woman looking for dentures for her elderly mother.

He offered to do the job for £650, despite knowing he was not legally allowed to carry out any dentistry.

When she visited him Webb told her he was a clinical dental technician - a position of greater responsibility than a dental technician - despite never holding such a title.

Ms Stewart said: “Mr Webb’s culpability is quite high because he is clearly aware of what is needed to do the job legally as he followed the rules up until 2014.

“He was registered as a dental technician up until 28 November 2014 but since he was removed for non-compliance with the GDC rules he was not entitled to practice.

Referring to himself as a clinical dental technician when he was not one is worrying, it was designed to mislead his patients and having the cages there in close proximity to the treatment room is a hygiene concern.”

Webb, of Hitchin, who represented himself, handed magistrates a written note in mitigation.

It read: “I have been manufacturing dentures for 44 years.

“It is my nature to be kind and helpful and because of this the GDC found it easy to trap me into agreeing to perform illegal dentistry on this invented, crippled, housebound old lady that had the misfortune to lose her dentures.”

He pleaded guilty to implying he was a dental practitioner, despite not being registered as a dentist and running an illegal dentistry business.

He also admitted referring to himself as a clinical dental technician - a protected title which he has never held.

Magistrates in Stevenage fined him a total of £4,500 for the three offences with a further £1,883 in costs and a £150 victim surcharge.

Outside court Webb told reporters he didn’t complete the retraining required to remain on the register because “it was a waste of time and I only had a few working years left”.

He added: “I find it quite offensive that I have to take time out of my busy day and spend money to be lectured on people who are junior to me about things if I don’t know by now I will never know.”

Speaking about the dirty conditions at this clinic he said: “It is not my fault that the GDC camera is so shitty that the photo came out to make it look worse than it is.

“As for the hedgehogs I’m a registered carer and there were two at there at the time and they were disease free and preparing for release, and the dog cage was empty.

“There was no chance of any hygiene issue.”

Webb said the room were the hedgehogs were kept was marked private and patients were not allowed to enter.