A London Ambulance Service (LAS) contractor has been arrested on suspicion of stealing face masks as criminals continue to exploit the coronavirus crisis.
The man, who is in his 20s, is accused of stealing the protective equipment, along with other items, from stores in north London before selling them online.
He was held in Windmill Road, near Edmonton ambulance station, on Wednesday, but has since been bailed, while items recovered in searches have been returned to LAS.
A London Ambulance Service (LAS) contractor has been arrested on suspicion of stealing face masks (file image)
The Metropolitan Police said he had access to the sites because he was a contractor working with LAS.
Detective Inspector Jason Colby said: ‘I am saddened that anyone would take advantage of the NHS for their financial gain at such a critical time.
‘These masks are a vital piece of PPE for emergency service personnel and are used to keep both themselves and patients safe.
‘We will continue to crack down on anyone attempting to take advantage of our emergency services for personal gain, especially at such an unprecedented time. We are grateful to those who are assisting our investigation.’
Kierran Stevenson, 32, decided to wander around his local hospital purely to witness the coronavirus pandemic on the frontline and make postings to Facebook
Steven Mackie (left) was arrested on Saturday after police caught him ignoring social distancing rules twice in the space of 15 minutes. The 53-year-old has been handed a fine at Stockport Magistrates Court. Pictured, right: Kierran Stevenson
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said some people are using the Covid-19 pandemic to commit criminal offences, including Ashaq Sattar, 40, who posed as an NHS volunteer.
He knocked on the doors of elderly and vulnerable victims in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, claiming he would collect their medicine for a small fee.
Sattar was jailed for a year at Leeds Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to five counts of fraud.
Others have been convicted of breaching restrictions on movement, including Kierran Stevenson, 32, who was jailed for 12 weeks after posting photos on Facebook of Aylesbury hospital corridors and commenting staff were not taking safety measures seriously.
Steven Mackie, 53, was fined £500 for breaching restrictions of movement after repeatedly approaching shoppers in a Tesco queue in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester.
And Jason Harewood, 27, pleaded guilty to contravening restriction of movement rules after he was caught distributing drugs on his pedal bike in Islington, north London, last Friday.
Coronavirus continues to be used as a threat against police officers and other emergency workers, with Bevan Burke, 22, among those jailed this week.
Burke was sentenced to 42 weeks in prison for two counts of assaulting an emergency worker and assault by beating after coughing at police officers in Leicester and telling them he hoped they died from the virus.
Thomas Wilson (left), 19, was jailed for six months after being arrested last Tuesday and Bevan Burke (right), 22, was jailed for nine months after spitting at a shopkeeper on April 3
The director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC, said: ‘Although this is only a small sample of the cases that we have prosecuted over the last week, it clearly demonstrates the number of people who are determined to break the law in the most critical of times.
‘It is disappointing to see charges come in on a daily basis of hard-working police officers, NHS staff and other vital workers, being coughed or spat at, sometimes deliberately exposing them to the risk of infecting them with coronavirus.
‘We take these offences immensely seriously and want to make it absolutely clear- that where there is evidence to do so, people will be prosecuted and can face up to one year in prison.’