A man who claimed to have coronavirus as he repeatedly coughed at a Community Protection Officer has been jailed for 30 weeks.
CPO Andrew Weaver was conducting routine patrols near Newark Castle Station when he intervened during a disagreement between Stephen Ravenscroft and a train station employee.
Ravenscroft, 41, of no fixed abode, was alleged to have been begging outside a nearby nursery and causing a nuisance to passers-by, refusing to move off the station site.
Mr Weaver had asked Ravenscroft to move elsewhere but he refused and proceeded to verbally abuse the Community Protection Officer before coughing in his face and shouting: “I have coronavirus”.
Mr Weaver then followed Ravenscroft until police officers quickly arrived and arrested him.
He said: “I was more worried that if he could do this to a uniformed officer, what could he do to a member of public.
“His actions risked not only my own health, but also my family’s health.
“Assaults of any nature should not be tolerated, but especially to key workers and emergency services, who at this time, are already stretched.”
Ravenscroft was sentenced at Nottingham Magistrates’ on Wednesday (9 September 2020) having pleaded guilty to assaulting the Newark and Sherwood District Council key worker on Friday 24 July 2020.
As well as the prison sentence, he was also ordered to pay £300 in compensation and crown prosecution service costs.
Neighbourhood Inspector Heather Sutton said: “We were absolutely disgusted that Ravenscroft acted in this abusive manner towards one of our Community Protection colleagues.
“Our key workers have been acting so selflessly and, throughout the outbreak, have bravely put themselves at risk for the sake of others. So to then be treated in this way is beyond belief.
“I’m glad that Ravenscroft has now been locked up for his crimes and hope that Mr Weaver can now recover from the ordeal.”
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Nobody should have to be afraid of being assaulted while they go about their job, especially in such a disgusting manner, at a time when fears are heightened and the need to safeguard our personal health has never been greater.
“We want to reassure the public that we are taking instances such as this extremely seriously and bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.”