On Tuesday, police sergeant Linda Haywood was trying to do her job when she was threatened by a drunken man. Haywood had stopped 40-year-old David Mott and his two friends who were flouting the social distancing rule. In an inebriated state, Mott threatened to infect Haywood with the novel coronavirus by coughing and spitting on her. Following the threats, he did end up spitting and coughing at the cop. After his arrest, Mott was swiftly sentenced to 26 weeks by Blackburn Magistrates Court.

At Blackburn, Lancashire, Haywood had stopped a taxi in which the perpetrator and his friends were riding. The officer confronted the men for not following the social distancing rule and asked them to return to their homes. The interaction between Haywood and the men turned violent when Mott started threatening her.

Angered by Haywood's insistence, Mott started to approach her. Haywood kept warning Mott to maintain social distancing by not coming close to her. At this point, Mott tried to scare her by telling her that he would give her the virus. Finally, Mott coughed at Haywood multiple times and even spat at her.

To bring the situation under control, Haywood pepper-sprayed Mott, the Daily Mail reported. He was arrested immediately. On Wednesday, Mott was taken to Blackburn Magistrates Court where the court heard the charges against him.

Charged with threatening behaviour, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis, Mott pleaded guilty to all charges. The court sentenced him to 26 weeks behind bars for his terrorising behaviour towards another human being.

Haywood stated that police officers were already risking their lives to keep the public safe. The actions of people like Mott put them at risk unnecessarily.

The COVID-19 threat is being taken seriously by the Crown Prosecution Service. It has warned the public of the consequences that await anyone who chooses to put emergency service providers at risk intentionally. Perpetrators can be jailed for up to a year for trying to compromise the health of emergency service workers.

French Riviera
From the Channel to the French Riviera, police and soldiers are out in force Photo: AFP / VALERY HACHE