05:20 GMT29 May 2020
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    The suspect was of no fixed abode and appeared to be targeting supplies associated with protection against contagious illnesses, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    Mark Manley, 35, was imprisoned for six months, at Croydon Magistrates' Court, after pleading guilty to stealing personal protection equipment (PPE) from an ambulance and assault on a security guard. The PPE taken from the emergency vehicle included masks, paper suits and hand gel.

    ​"Some of the items [stolen] were rendered no longer usable due to contamination", according to police.

    Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK has seen certain items disappear from the shop shelves as panic buyers and profiteers engaged in mass bulk purchases of items, including hand gel and sanitiser, which are normally widely available.

    Manley racially abused one security guard and assaulted another after they confronted him. Hospital security along with British Transport Police detained him, and Southwark police ultimately charged him with theft from a motor vehicle, causing fear or provocation of violence (under section 4 Public Order Act 1986) and a racially aggravated offence (also under the 1986 Act). 

    "He was also charged with assault against an emergency worker in relation to the security guard who sustained facial injuries which were not life threatening", police said in a statement.


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