A BUSINESSMAN has been arrested on suspicion of stealing two million masks from a failed company in Spain.
The Spanish suspect flogged the masks in Portugal, as well as gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE), police said.
The stock – in high demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic – was robbed from a bust medical supplies firm in Santiago, Galicia.
Stacks of the masks had been piled high in a locked warehouse on an industrial estate in the northern city.
But pictures released in the last couple of days show mountains of empty boxes in the storage unit, which appears to have been ransacked.
A joint probe by the Portuguese and Spanish authorities was launched, while the man is believed to be the director of a property company.
The crime is thought to have taken place at the end of February, days before Spain’s first coronavirus death in Valencia.
The Galician Government’s vice-president Alfonso Rueda visited the affected site in his region.
He said: “The police received a tip-off that there could have been valuable health equipment here which would have been so necessary in the fight against COVID-19.
“It had been cleaned out by the time they arrived.
“We calculate two million face masks have been stolen. Only the boxes are left.
“There are also empty boxes which contained surgical gloves but we don’t know at this stage exactly how many are missing.
“The police investigation has led to the identification and arrest of the main suspect, a person from Santiago who has already appeared in court.”