A nurse who was accused of tampering with saline solution for patients' drips is keen to clear her name and return to work.

Rebecca Leighton, 27, spent six weeks in custody earlier this summer while detectives probed an alleged murder plot at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Police discontinued the case against her earlier this month due to lack of evidence.

Before the charges were dropped, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) temporarily suspended Leighton from practice on August 2.

While reviewing the ban yesterday, a regulatory body heard that Miss Leighton had admitted to police that she had stolen opiate-based drugs.

Lawyers for the NMC told the panel that Miss Leighton had been stealing the pain killer tramadol and that she might be "dependent" on it.

In Miss Leighton's home, police found 17 tablets of the antibiotic flucloxacillin, a box of 21 Ibuprofen and a box of 30 tramadol hydrochloride, an opiate analgesic.

Tremadol is an addictive prescription-only medicine that is sometimes taken as an opiate substitute.

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Speaking for the NMC, Salim Hafajee said: “There were admissions to the theft of the drugs by this lady, but the charge was discontinued after it was regarded as not in the public interest to prosecute. I do not wish to speculate as to what the rationale was, but one can well bear in mind the time Miss Leighton spent in custody.

“The theft of anything including drugs from a hospital setting where a nurse is in a position of trust is a breach of trust.”

He added: “In the theft of drugs of this class, inevitably there are concerns as to whether there is a dependency. The inference at this stage would be that they were taken for her own use.”

Representing Miss Leighton, Paul Rooney said: “There are lots of other reasons why that medicine was found in her house. It is a leap too far for the NMC to say that it is for her own personal use.”

The panel lifted the suspension, enabling Miss Leighton to continue to practice as a nurse but it has imposed a number of conditions, one of which is that she can only work at Stepping Hill.

Speaking after the hearing, Miss Leighton said: “The CPS dropped all charges against me and I hoped that the NMC would take this into account and allow me to go back to the job I love without any conditions attached,” she said.

“I now want to concentrate on building my life back up again, going back to work and clearing my name fully. “I want to thank my friends and family who have stood by me every step of the way, and all the people who never doubted me.”

“My thoughts are still with the families who have lost loved ones and I hope they get the answers they deserve.”