December 5, 2023

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Birmingham man suspected of selling fake Covid-19 tests

A counterfeit coronavirus testing kitImage copyright

Image caption

The government said there were no Covid-19 antibody self-testing kits for home use available in the UK

A 38-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly selling hundreds of fake coronavirus testing kits online.

The man from Birmingham is thought to have sold up to 500 kits to customers in the UK and US and a second suspect, also from Birmingham, is being sought.

Kits were found during a search at an address in Edgbaston on Tuesday.

The suspect, from the city’s Jewellery Quarter, was arrested on Tuesday following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The NCA said “criminals are trying to turn the pandemic to their advantage” and a number of reports of counterfeit products relating to Covid-19 were being investigated.”

No domestic tests

Commander Karen Baxter of City of London Police told a committee of MPs in May that officers had arrested 47 people in the UK for fraud connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it had taken down thousands of scams relating to coronavirus.

The kits were advertised on the dark web as well as the open webs, the NCA said.

There are no Covid-19 antibody testing kits available in the UK for home use, Andy Morling, from the government’s medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency, said.

“Products that have not been tested to ensure they meet standards of safety, performance and quality cannot be guaranteed and this poses a risk to individuals’ health,” he said.

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