Brit lorry driver ‘arrested trying to smuggle £26m of face masks out of Morocco’

A British lorry driver has reportedly been arrested in Morocco after trying to smuggle 100,000 face masks out of the country.

The trucker was held in the Port of Tanger Med, a cargo part located about 25 miles east of the Moroccan city of Tangier, according to local reports.

Website  said the unnamed driver was planning to take the face masks back to the UK so he could sell them for £26 each following shortages and price hikes caused by coronavirus.

The value of his load has been put at £26 million.

The arrest was made yesterday by customs officers according to the local report.

He is currently believed to be in police custody, although there has been no official comment from the authorities.

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News of yesterday's arrest near Tangier comes two days after another Brit was reportedly arrested at Agadir Airport an eight-hour drive south.

He is said to have been held after trying to fly back to the UK with 17,000 face masks he had bought at several pharmacies in the tourist city.

The second man has been described locally as a Brit of Indian origin who was intending to take them back to Manchester and sell them for a huge profit.

He is said to have told officers who stopped him that he had no idea he was doing anything wrong, but was held after police discovered he had a criminal record relating to the smuggling of contraband goods.

His whereabouts last night were unknown.

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The Foreign Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the reported arrest in Morocco of the two British nationals.

Morocco reported its first case of coronavirus on Monday, a Moroccan man living in Italy who is currently at a hospital in Casablanca.

Meanwhile, investigations are underway at several hospitals across Spain following the theft of thousands of face masks after price hikes and shortages caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Regional health chiefs are probing the theft of 5,000 face masks from Valladolid University Clinic Hospital in the latest incidents to emerge.

Around 250 boxes containing 20 face masks each are said to have vanished from different operating theatres and hospital floors, prompting speculation the thefts are an “inside job” perpetrated by staff.

The latest incident comes on the back of news a doctor at a Costa del Sol hospital faces disciplinary proceedings after allegedly being caught trying to take 300 face masks from a storeroom.

A spokesman for the Virgen de la Victoria University Hospital in Malaga confirmed an internal probe had been launched.

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