A PROTEST to give a hospital porter who was accused of stealing a £4 sandwich his job back was called off at the eleventh hour.

King George Hospital is currently in talks about reinstating Aldren Tomlinson, who was sacked from King George Hospital last Tuesday.

The 45-year-old forgot his wallet on the day he ordered a bacon and egg sandwich and a cup of tea at the Barley Lane hospital last month.

He told the Sodexo canteen worker he would return to pay for it – but was sacked last Tuesday.

More than 500 people have signed a petition calling for him to be reinstated, and this afternoon’s protest was called off amid hospital talks.

Mr Tomlinson, a father-of-three who has worked at the hospital for 15 years, said: “The support of people here and the union has really kept me going. It’s even lifted up my kids to have this support, we are delighted.

“If I get reinstated, I won’t look back and feel like I should be holding a grudge. Each day, I’m here to do my job, which is help the sick.”

Sodexo claim the canteen worker said he was not given permission to take the £4 sandwich and took the matter to a disciplinary hearing.

He has the backing of the GMB Union. Michael Dooley, part of the group, said: “People from the other parts of the NHS have been concerned about it.

“The whole thing shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

“We hope that Aldren will be reinstated.”

GMB officer Koola Flaherty, who initially employed Mr Tomlinson, said: “I come to this hospital all the time. He is an honest man and he has never been a problem at work.

“All his colleagues are rooting for him and supporting him because he is such decent man and they hold him in high regard.

“People should not be able to be treated like that. I told him when he started that we were a very vocal union.”

SODEXO has since given Mr Aldren his job back.

In a statement, it said: "We received an appeal, reviewed the situation and offered the employee reinstatement, which he has accepted. We look forward to seeing him back at work on Monday."