Thugs have been mugging doctors and nurses to steal their identity badges in order to access priority shopping and freebies from supermarkets during the coronavirus pandemic.
With shops facing supply chain delays and National Health Service (NHS) staff working long hours, supermarkets have opted to support their healthcare professionals by offering them priority shopping and freebies like snacks and hot drinks. Britons on social media reported earlier in the week major shops like Lidl and Waitrose giving nurses bouquets of flowers in appreciation. Dominos, Greggs, Pret a Manger, Burger King, and Pizza Hut are also offering free food and coffee to those who work for the National Health Service.
However, amidst these acts of appreciation and kindness has arisen a new type of crime, where thugs are mugging medical professionals of their lanyards and IDs to obtain freebies meant for those on the frontline of the coronavirus battle.
So concerned is NHS England by the reported incidents, it is preparing to tell staff across the country to hide their IDs and NHS-branded lanyards when out in public, according to The Guardian.
The left-wing newspaper reported that reprobates had tried to grab lanyards off of two doctors as they were leaving Lewisham hospital in south London.
One doctor said: “Something like this is appalling. It’s beyond the pale and so shocking. Someone tried to grab my colleagues’ ID badges as they were leaving but didn’t get them.”
Staff at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust’s two hospitals were told on Monday: “Following reports of an attempt to take the ID badges of two members of staff as they were leaving work, please make sure your ID badge is out of sight.”
Staff at University College Hospital London have also been warned to be vigilant when leaving facilities after similar incidents.
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A National Health Service official told The Guardian: “This is absolutely grim. ID badges are being stolen in a few places as staff come out of their trust. As soon as staff are coming off-site they are waiting for them and stealing them, to get the free food and also so they can go shopping during the protected early morning shopping hour that some supermarkets have put in place for NHS staff.
“It’s mainly nurses who have been targeted. They’re the ones who often walk out of the main entrance of a hospital with their lanyards on.”
These are not the only abominable acts of criminality to have been committed against the medical service as it is gearing up for the worst pandemic the United Kingdom has seen in a century.
Earlier in the week, thugs drilled holes into the tires of six ambulances in Kent, south-east England. The vehicles had been damaged whilst parked in an ambulance centre in Ramsgate. Kent’s ambulance service is under “significant pressure” following the coronavirus outbreak, according to KentOnline.
Supermarkets have also moved onto the frontline, continuing to ensure the supply chain for food reaches vulnerable citizens, and have likewise faced their own assaults. “Youths” were reported to have burnt out two Iceland delivery trucks in Bristol earlier this week after police officers had told them to disperse.
In response, the CEO of the budget supermarket wrote: “Two of our vans in Southmead were burnt out last night during disturbances in the town. At a time when home delivery is literally a lifeline for some vulnerable people, this is sickening.”
Oxygen Thieves: Criminals Steal Crucial Gas Canisters from Hospital https://t.co/7IvoGMGpMT
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