A DENTAL hygienist forged registration certificates to avoid paying an annual subscription fee to the General Dental Council.

Helen Ridley continued to work at three dental clinics – in Blackwood, Ystrad Mynach, and Cardiff – for more than five years using falsified documents to prove her registration with the GDC, the regulatory body for dental workers.

Qualified dental hygienist Ridley, of Cardigan Way, Blackwood, was a legitimate GDC member from February 2004 until August 2013, when she was removed from the register for failing to pay the annual retention fee.


The prosecution at Newport Magistrates’ Court on September 3 said Ridley then “produced forged certificates annually” and gave them to her employers.

The court was told Ridley had been working at the Family Dental Health Centre in Ystrad Mynach since 2005, The Dental Surgery in Cardiff ’s Corporation Road since 2014, and Blackwood Dental Centre in Blackwood since at least 2014.

“She did it to save money,” the prosecution said. “She got into financial difficulties and made the decision to stop paying the fee.”

Ridley’s fraud did not come to light until December last year, when an audit at the Blackwood surgery revealed she was not on the GDC register and was not, therefore, able to practise.

Her other places of employment were notified and all three stopped her from practising, the court was told.

Ridley, 53, was interviewed in January and admitted forging the GDC certificates.

Lynda Rhead, defending, said Ridley – who had no previous convictions – had been “visibly shaking” when informed of the seriousness of the allegations against her.

“Until I spoke to [Ridley] she absolutely had no idea whatsoever as to what she had done,” she said.

“I thought she was going to pass out when I told her.”

Ridley admitted three counts of using a false instrument with intent it be accepted as genuine, and three counts of fraud by false representation.

She was sentenced to a total of nine months in prison, suspended for one year, and pay an £80 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.