Coronavirus: Man who spat at police jailed for 12 months

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image copyrightNottinghamshire Police
image captionCh Supt Rob Griffin said police "will not tolerate anyone who deliberately coughs on or spits at our officers"

A man who spat at two police officers while claiming to have coronavirus symptoms has been jailed for 12 months.

Paul Leivers, from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, admitted two counts of assaulting an emergency worker.

But Nottinghamshire Police said he did not have coronavirus and their officers were "safe and well".

The force called his behaviour "despicable and appalling" and thanked the judge for sending "a loud and clear" message.

Leivers was sentenced at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on Saturday - three days after he was arrested.

District Judge Leo Pyle said: "It was in the public interest to deal with the matter sooner rather than later and the court will not flinch to protect officers."

image copyrightNottinghamshire Police
image captionPaul Leivers has been jailed for 12 months

The Director of Public Prosecutions warned that anyone using coronavirus to threaten emergency workers faced serious charges.

"The prosecutor in this case highlighted the serious danger caused by the defendant's behaviour and the impact of the threat of transmitting the virus on the victims and their service," said Karen Thompson, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

"The court agreed it was a serious aggravating feature in the case, which is reflected in the deterrent sentence handed down."

She said the CPS viewed offences of this nature "extremely seriously" especially at a time "our emergency services are needed more than ever".

The maximum sentence for each offence under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 is six months in jail at magistrates' courts.

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