A GERMAN prison doctor who worked in the North-East has been banned from practising over a previous conviction for smuggling guns disguised as ball-point pens.

The General Medical Council (GMC) heard that Dr Rudolf Peitel, who worked at Holme House Prison, in Stockton, was convicted in 1993 of trying to bring firearms into Germany from Pakistan.

Peitel, 57, later came to the UK to practise and took on roles through an agency.

The hearing concluded yesterday that the convictions meant Peitel's fitness to practise in the UK was impaired.

He was suspended from the medical register after the hearing yesterday.

The court heard how Peitel arranged for the gadgets - a single-shot gun that looks like a pen used by spies and assassins - to be posted to the home of a friend in Germany.

But Peitel was arrested and five ball-point pen guns were intercepted after he was reported to police. Peitel escaped with a fine of DM12,000 (£3,800) in June 1993.

Three years later, the father-of-one received a six-month suspended sentence after attempting to con a business partner out of DM55,000 (£19,000).

Peitel denied any wrongdoing but was found guilty in January 1997.

The sentence was replaced with a fine after the doctor appealed against his sentence.

Peitel was later fined 2,000 Euros (£1,300) in June 2001 after his Rottweiler dog bit two people.

Less than a year later, Peitel was fined a further 2,000 Euros by a disciplinary board after he refused to allow an alcoholic patient with learning difficulties on to a rehabilitation course.

During an argument, he told a receptionist it would be best if the patient "drank herself to death" as the "disabled should not procreate".

Striking Peitel off the register, chairman Dr Surindra Kumar said: "The panel considered your firearms and dangerous dog offences, together with your dishonesty, wholly reprehensible.

"You not only provided false documents to a court of law but you also failed to disclose to the GMC in your application for registration that you had a complaint upheld against you."

Peitel admitted his convictions but claims the victims of his Rottweiler exaggerated their injuries and denied making derogatory comments about the disabled.

Peitel reacted angrily when he learned his fate and stormed out from the hearing.

A spokesman for HM Prison Service said they could not comment as Peitel was not a current employee.