Coronavirus: NHS workers are warned to hide their ID badges

Medical equipment, NHS ID cards, cash and a handbag have all been stolen in a nationwide crime wave against NHS workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.  

In the last 24 hours an Essex doctor was forced to withdraw cash by three muggers in Harlow, while a community nurse had her car, and all the medical equipment inside, stolen from her home in Longsight, Manchester.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning petty thief Wayne Harvey, 32, stole an A&E receptionist’s handbag and assaulted a security guard at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. 

Two staff members, thought to be doctors, were attacked outside Lewisham Hospital in South East London (file picture) last week by thieves who tried to steal their NHS badges

Three men wearing balaclavas broke into Victoria Roberts' home in Longsight, Manchester and took the keys to her Peugeot. They drove off in the car, which had her community nurse kit in the boot, Greater Manchester Police is investigating

Three men wearing balaclavas broke into Victoria Roberts’ home in Longsight, Manchester and took the keys to her Peugeot. They drove off in the car, which had her community nurse kit in the boot, Greater Manchester Police is investigating

Harvey, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to theft and assault at Coventry Crown Court on Thursday and was jailed for 31 weeks.

Victoria Roberts, 33, was due to go to work from her home in Longsight, Manchester, on Thursday morning when she realised her Peugeot 208, with her nurse’s kit in the boot, was missing from the driveway.

Mrs Roberts works as a nurse practitioner in the community and provides medical care at home to patients, including those who are at high risk of coronavirus and now unable to leave the house.

Her husband Brendan Roberts, 34, has set up a fundraising page after CCTV caught three men on CCTV stealing her car

Mr Roberts, an IT technician also classed as a key worker, said: ‘Victoria’s job is to help look after people who are elderly or have just had surgery.

‘Lots of them can’t leave the house now and her car is vital for her to get around and see them, but today she hasn’t been able to go in.

Wayne Harvey, 32, stole an A&E receptionist's handbag and assaulted a security guard at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. He was jailed on Thursday after admitting theft and assault

Wayne Harvey, 32, stole an A&E receptionist’s handbag and assaulted a security guard at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. He was jailed on Thursday after admitting theft and assault

‘Her work is stressful anyway and this has really hit her hard. She is scared of being in the house now.’

He added: ‘All her NHS equipment, probably worth thousands, was in there because her car is like her workplace.’ 

Greater Manchester Police are investigating, while the colleagues in Essex have arrested a 14-year-old boy thought to be involved in three muggings in Harlow on Wednesday night.

A doctor on his way to a hospital shift was the first to be targeted when he was approached in Market Square at around 9.30pm.

Two other members of the public were approached after the first incident. Officers are working to find the remaining two suspects.

These latest attacks come a week after staff at Lewisham Hospital were attacked for their NHS badges. 

** Have you been targeted for your NHS badge? Please email: mark.duell@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com ** 

Health bosses have warned all hospital staff to hide their NHS identification when they are outside work amid fears they could continue to be targeted.

It comes after two staff members, thought to be doctors, were attacked outside Lewisham Hospital in South East London last week by thieves who tried to steal their NHS badges.

The thieves, who approached the staff members as they walked through a park around the back of the hospital, were unsuccessful.

Chief nursing officer for England, Ruth May, condemned the attempts to rob staff.

She said: ‘Our NHS staff are pulling out all the stops in the face of an unprecedented global health threat, so these reports are really concerning.

‘We have seen some extraordinary acts of generosity from businesses and the public, and this will not be overshadowed by the actions of an idiotic few.

‘But I would urge everyone to show NHS staff the gratitude they deserve and help them to do what they do best.’  

Staff at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust’s two hospitals were warned about the issue in a memo issued on Monday.

It said: ‘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.’ 

Companies including Greggs, Pizza Hut and Burger King have offered free food to NHS staff battling to fight the disease.

Chief nursing officer for England, Ruth May, condemned the attempts to rob staff.

Companies including Greggs, Pizza Hut and Burger King (pictured in London on March 1) have offered free food to NHS staff battling to fight the disease

Companies including Greggs, Pizza Hut and Burger King (pictured in London on March 1) have offered free food to NHS staff battling to fight the disease

She said: ‘Our NHS staff are pulling out all the stops in the face of an unprecedented global health threat, so these reports are really concerning.

‘We have seen some extraordinary acts of generosity from businesses and the public, and this will not be overshadowed by the actions of an idiotic few.

** Have you been targeted for your NHS badge? Please email: mark.duell@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com ** 

‘But I would urge everyone to show NHS staff the gratitude they deserve and help them to do what they do best.’  

A spokesman for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: ‘We are giving staff the advice which is being given across the NHS for all staff not to wear name badges outside work.’

And a Scotland Yard spokesman told MailOnline: ‘This alleged incident was not reported to police. 

‘Following articles in the Guardian and Mail, the local police have today made contact with the hospital who confirmed they do not wish to report anything to police.’

Yesterday as forces stepped up their response to the UK lockdown brought in on Monday, some officers were met with resistance.

In Leeds, police had to make a number of arrests after breaking up a large gathering in Banstead Park.

Greater Manchester Police announced they had dispersed 24 large gatherings in less than 24 hours and had to advise 64 businesses, including pubs and shops, that they should not be open. 

Other forces reported a surge of mindless violence by bored yobs.

In Merseyside, a hospital worker was attacked with a bike saddle by a group of teenagers as he went to buy groceries.

The radiographer at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral needed seven stitches after he was targeted by four youths outside an Asda supermarket in Birkenhead.

Elsewhere in Merseyside, a group of children became involved in a standoff with police after climbing onto a leisure centre roof for an hour and refusing to come down.

Derbyshire Police revealed they were investigating a vicious assault on a farmer who was punched 15 times and kicked in the ribs when he asked a Peak District walker to ‘go home’.

The victim, from Edale, was ‘left shaken and bruised’ after he was assaulted while disinfecting his gates on Sunday due to hundreds of people walking past. 

** Have you been targeted for your NHS badge? Please email: mark.duell@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com ** 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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