Daily Express

Criminals steal PPE for peddling on black market

- By John Twomey

THOUSANDS of pieces of medical protection kit have been stolen from the NHS supply chain to sell on the black market, police believe.

Several forces, including Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the Metropolit­an Police, are investigat­ing a series of thefts of items of personal protective equipment.

The most valuable happened at a business park in Salford, where burglars cut through steel shutters to snatch 80,000 respirator masks worth £166,000.


The masks are said to cost around £2 each if they are bought in bulk but could fetch five times more when peddled on the black market.

Meanwhile, nearly

16 million protective goggles are being recalled because they are useless against coronaviru­s.

It is understood a total of 25.6 million Tiger Eye protectors were bought by the last Labour government.

About 15.9 million were distribute­d to the health system. The remainder were kept in storage.

The Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoma­n said: “The Tiger Eye protectors were bought in 2009.

“These were rechecked and following these assessment­s, we have issued an alert to clinical settings advising against their use.

“We are removing them from the supply chain.

“Based on current stock assessment­s, trusts should have sufficient visors and goggles to immediatel­y stop using Tiger Eye protection.

“If settings require replacemen­t eye protection, they should contact the National Supply Disruption Line. We are arranging replacemen­t stock for trusts who need immediate supply.”

It comes amid criticism of the current government’s record on supplying personal protection equipment.

Some 400,000 medical gowns imported from Turkey were impounded after being deemed not good enough for use within the NHS.

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