| Last updated
A woman who filmed inside a hospital to try to convince the public that Covid is 'a lie' has been charged with a public order offence.
Debbie Hicks, 46, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, was charged on Thursday (21 January) with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
She was initially arrested on 29 December after she filmed and posted online a 12-minute video that showed empty corridors at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The video was reported to Gloucestershire Police and Hicks was arrested but released on bail.
She's now been released on bail again after being charged and will appear at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on 30 March.
In response to the video, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital clarified that it is 'extremely busy'.
A statement released from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the time said: "We are currently caring for more than 200 patients with Covid-19.
"This includes many who require treatment in our critical care departments and a further 500+ non-Covid patients who need our care and expertise."
Unfortunately, the incident is not a one-off. Several cases of Covid-deniers breaking into hospitals and harrassing staff and patients have been reported.
Security at Colchester Hospital in Essex were forced to remove a group of people who broke in to take photos of the corridors in the hospitals to post on social media.
Despite the hospital operating at full capacity in the intensive care unit due to an overwhelming increase in coronavirus cases, the conspiracy theorists wanted to disprove it by infiltrating the ICU department and taking photos of empty corridors.
Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme said it was baffling that conspiracy theorists were still claiming the pandemic is a hoax.
He said: "[Security was called to] remove people who were taking photographs of empty corridors and then posting them on social media, saying the hospital is not in crisis.
"When you've got that sort of social media pressure and those people denying the reality of Covid it really concerns us. Words fail me.
"Why would people do that when we all know somebody who has died from Covid?
"Of course there are empty corridors at the weekend in outpatients, because that's the right thing to do.
"We are facing the biggest health challenge we've ever seen and we are still seeing people flouting the [social distancing] rules."
Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital also reported a man roaming the corridors to take photos, as did a hospital in Redditch.
Dr David Nicholl, who works in the West Midlands, told the BBC the intrusions were 'grossly offensive' to sick patients and NHS staff working to care for them.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read