Passengers using forged GP notes to avoid the cost of a Covid test
Passengers are using forged GP notes to avoid the cost of a Covid test when they return from abroad, border officers say
- Border guards seeing ‘upwards of 100’ fraudulent Covid test certificates a day
- The fake letters are designed to help passengers avoid paying for tests or fines
- If coming to UK for ‘urgent non-prearranged treatment’ you don’t need a test
Travellers are trying to break Covid rules with forged doctor’s notes which claim they need emergency surgery.
Immigration officers are uncovering multiple examples of fake letters designed to help passengers avoid paying for tests or fines under the regulations, the Mail can reveal.
‘Forged letters have been uncovered which say the passenger’s coming back for an emergency operation or other emergency treatment,’ said a borders source.
‘When immigration officers phone up the doctors named on the letters, they don’t know anything about it.’
Under the current restrictions, anyone coming to the UK to ‘attend urgent, non-pre-arranged treatment’ does not have to take a Covid test before travel, or on days two and eight after arrival.
Immigration officers are uncovering multiple examples of fake letters designed to help passengers avoid paying for tests or fines under the regulations, the Mail can reveal. Pictured: The arrivals hall at London Heathrow on Thursday
Lucy Moreton, of the Immigration Services Union, added that border guards were seeing ‘upwards of 100’ fraudulent Covid test certificates a day.
She said many of those identified as fake had spelling mistakes on them, with the word ‘negative’ often spelt incorrectly.
Most of the fake doctor’s letters have been used by British nationals returning to the UK, it is understood.
In February the Mail revealed passengers were arriving in the UK with forged negative Covid tests.
Border Force officials detected the first counterfeit certificates within 24 hours of the new restrictions coming into force on January 18.
Sources said it was ‘highly likely’ that not all forgeries were being detected by border guards.
It means travellers could be gaining entry to Britain when they are infectious – potentially with mutant coronavirus strains – after being close to hundreds of others aboard a plane.
International policing agency Europol issued an alert to European Union members in January highlighting growing concern over the involvement of organised crime gangs in counterfeiting.
It highlighted a case last December of forgeries being sold for £100 at Luton airport, plus cases from France, Spain and the Netherlands where fake certificates were advertised for as little as £35.
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