CROOKS are cruelly cashing in on the coronavirus crisis by selling dodgy treatments riddled with dangerous toxins.

An investigation also found some criminals are even selling bogus NHS lanyards so people can pose as hard-pressed frontline medics.

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The probe by ITV News also found online scammers were flogging illegal sanitisers and bogus safety masks to those panicking during the pandemic.

However, the most alarming find was the kit being marketed as a wonder treatment for Covid-19 while NHS medics struggle to get their hands on the genuine equipment they need to save lives.

Detective Chief Supt. Clinton Blackburn revealed: "What he was asking the individuals to do was to mix two toxic materials and actually swill it around in the mouth.

"To ingest it could have some significant harmful outcomes."

Police fear some of the bogus kits have already been sold and could be used, reports ITV's consumer editor Chris Choi.

It's feared the bogus lanyards seized by the police were being sold for users to gain shopping advantages and discounts.


And hand gel being sold in Birmingham contained an illegal ingredient banned in Britain since 2014.

When rubbed into the skin it causes chronic irritation, say worried trading standards officers.

Earlier this week it was revealed a pharmacist and a surveyor were arrested for selling "bogus" coronavirus tests.

The National Crime Agency said it had arrested the two men on suspicion of illegally selling tests for the virus.

A 46-year-old pharmacist from South London, was arrested under the Fraud Act on Saturday after he allegedly made false and misleading claims about the tests.

Officers seized £20,000 in cash and searched two properties and a car, before releasing him on bail.

The following day investigators arrested a surveyor from west London with 250 testing kits they allege he planned to sell to construction workers.

He was also held on suspicion of making false and misleading claims about the capability of the tests.

Graeme Biggar, boss of the National Economic Crime Centre, said he expects to see an increase in scams amid the Covid-19 outbreak and warned the UK to be on its guard.

He said: "Covid-19 is increasingly being used as a hook to commit fraud – and we think these offences are likely to increase during the pandemic.

"Individuals and businesses need to be fully prepared for criminals trying to turn the pandemic to their advantage by scamming them out of money."

The use of coronavirus tests at home is not currently advised by Public Health England.

There are no tests for home use that are CE marked, a certification that shows compliance with European safety standards, and it is illegal to sell them.

Details of the arrests came after Europol said it had foiled a plot to defraud German health authorities of millions of euros as they tried to buy face masks.

Join our George Cross campaign for NHS staff

SUN readers are today urged to sign a petition calling for our NHS staff to be awarded the George Cross.

Yesterday, we backed a proposal by Lord Ashcroft to honour our health heroes with the gallantry gong given for acts of bravery that did not take place in battle.

A No10 spokesman said: “The NHS is doing a fantastic job and the nation will want to find a way to say thank you when we have defeated this virus.”

SAS hero Andy McNab added: “The award of a George Cross would show an emotional appreciation.”

We are asking readers to sign the petition online at thesun.co.uk/georgecrossfornhs.

The FBI also warned it has seen multiple incidents of conmen targeting government and health industry bodies responsible for buying protective equipment and ventilators.

News of the scams come as NHS frontline heroes are finding it increasingly difficult to get the PPE they need to do their job properly.

Medics will now have to treat coronavirus patients without full-length gowns as hospitals are set to run out within hours.

Public Health England is set to tell frontline staff to wear a flimsy plastic apron when gowns have run out – which could lead to more hero healthcare workers contracting the virus.

Shadow health minister Justin Madders said the amount of key workers still without protective equipment was a "scandal".

"Workers have been sounding the alarm for weeks now and the Government has had months to put things in place," he said.

"It is outrageous that supplies keep running so low, protecting those staff who are risking their lives every time they go to work should be an absolute priority."

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