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Covid-19: Wellesbourne man deliberately sneezed in police car

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image copyrightWarwickshire Police
image captionThomas Coates admitted two counts of assaulting an emergency worker

A man who asked police officers about coronavirus and what would happen if coughed on them, then sneezed and spluttered in the back of their car.

Police said Thomas Coates, 21, had deliberately sneezed at the officers after he was arrested on 13 June.

Coates, from Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, has been jailed for five months after admitting two counts of assaulting an emergency worker.

Police said he put officers and their families' health at risk.

There was "no indication the defendant had Covid", Warwickshire Police said.

The incident happened after Coates, of Hotchkiss Close, was arrested over a separate offence. He asked the officers their view on coronavirus and what would happen if he coughed on them.

He then, in the car, "deliberately sneezed and coughed", Warwickshire Police said.

Coates had not been displaying symptoms and neither was anyone at his home, so in line with government guidance, officers were advised to look out for symptoms in themselves and self-isolate if they materialised, the force said.

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At Warwick Crown Court Coates was given five months each for the two counts to run concurrently.

Head of local policing Ch Supt Ben Smith said: "At a time when police officers are at the front line of keeping the public safe during the pandemic it is shocking that people think it acceptable to act in this way.

"Coates's actions not only put the officers' health at risk but the health of their colleagues and families."

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