A man has been jailed for six months for stealing personal protective equipment (PPE) from an ambulance amid the coronavirus crisis.
Mark Manley, 35, of no fixed address, was handed the sentence at Croydon Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to stealing equipment from a stationary ambulance and assaulting a security guard, the Metropolitan Police said.
Police were called to reports of a man having stolen equipment from an ambulance at St Thomas Street in south-east London at 9.19pm on Saturday night, the force said.
He had taken a bag containing PPE, which included masks, paper suits and hand gel, and when he was challenged by security staff, he assaulted one security worker and racially abused another, police said.
Some of the items taken were left unusable because they had been contaminated, police said.
The shortage of PPE for NHS frontline workers is an ongoing issue amid the coronavirus crisis, with many calling for the government to do more to get them the equipment they need.
Following the theft, Manley was detained by the security guards and patrolling British Transport Police, the Met Police said.
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He was arrested on suspicion of theft, actual bodily harm and a racially-aggravated public order offence and later charged with theft from a motor vehicle, a section 4 Public Order Act offence (causing fear or provocation of violence) and a racially aggravated Public Order Act offence.
Manley was jailed at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Monday, according to Scotland Yard.
Police said 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.