Published: 14:07, 27 January 2021
| Updated: 19:01, 27 January 2021
Police are searching for a Maidstone man after a video emerged showing people confronting hospital staff and not wearing masks on a critical care ward.
Surrey Police are appealing for the public's help in finding Tobe Hayden Leigh, 45, who is wanted in connection with the incident at East Surrey Hospital last week.
He is wanted in connection with a public nuisance offence following a report police received from East Surrey Hospital on Saturday in relation to social media posts which included videos and abusive comments towards hospital staff.
The incident shown on social media happened at the hospital on Thursday, when a number of people, some of whom were not wearing masks, gained access to the critical care ward to visit a family member and were abusive towards hospital staff when they were asked to do so.
They also refused to leave. Officers attended and issued fines to two individuals involved for breaching Covid restrictions and issued a breach of the peace warning which resulted in the group leaving.
East Surrey Det Chief Insp Kimball Edey said: “We would like to speak to Tobe Hayden Leigh in connection with this incident and the escalating abusive and threatening comments being made towards hospital staff on social media.
"These comments are extremely concerning, and are obviously causing considerable distress for those who are being targeted.
“The staff at the hospital, as are all NHS workers, are trying to care for desperately ill people in extremely challenging circumstances, and to be targeted and abused on social media in this way is simply unacceptable.”
Det Ch Insp Edey continued: “We also need to track Tobe Hayden Leigh down as a matter of urgency due to the public health risk he poses. He came into close proximity with a patient who remains seriously ill with Covid and may well have contracted the virus himself.
“We are appealing for any information and any help we can get from the public to find this man so that we can deal with him appropriately.”