National Crime Agency arrests two for allegedly selling fake Covid-19 testing kits

Picture: National Crime Agency

A pharmacist and a surveyor have been arrested on suspicion of illegally selling coronavirus testing kits.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) also took down a website trying to fool victims into buying suspected non-existent personal protective equipment (PPE) through phishing emails.

NCA officers arrested the 46-year-old pharmacist from Croydon, south London, and seized around £20,000.

He was arrested under the Fraud Act 2006 after making false and misleading claims about the tests’ capability.

Two properties and a car linked to the suspect were searched.

He was released on conditional bail.

On Sunday in a separate investigation, a 39-year-old surveyor from Uxbridge, west London, was stopped while driving his car.

Inside the vehicle were 250 Covid-19 testing kits.

Like the first suspect, he was arrested under the Fraud Act 2006 after making false and misleading claims about the capability of the tests.

He told investigators he was planning on selling the kits to construction workers.

He was released on conditional bail.

Nikki Holland, NCA Director of Investigations, said:

“Criminals capitalise on fear and anxiety and they will exploit any opportunity, no matter how awful, to line their pockets.

“Illegally selling testing kits completely undermines the nation’s collective response to the pandemic and actually endangers lives.

“Anyone thinking of trying to profit in this way should take note of these arrests and that bringing these offenders to justice and ceasing their activities is a key priority across law enforcement.”

Graeme Biggar, Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre, said:

“Covid-19 is increasingly being used as a hook to commit fraud – and we think these offences are likely to increase during the pandemic.

“Individuals and businesses need to be fully prepared for criminals trying to turn the pandemic to their advantage by scamming them out of money.

“Law enforcement, government and the private sector are working together to protect the public and combat these offenders.”


About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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