A MAN who coughed at police and threatened to infect them with COVID-19 has been jailed for six months at the Isle of Wight Magistrates court.

Riko Baber, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to three counts of common assault of an emergency worker as well as another count of criminal damage in court today (Tuesday).

The court heard how Baber coughed on four officers, threatening to infect them with the virus when they were called to an incident yesterday evening in Manor Crescent, Newport.

Once Baber was placed in the police van he began to spit on the floor and cough at police, as well as kicking two of them in the process.

The court also heard how Baber on March 26 Baber forced entry to Grove House Surgery in Ventnor, and was aggressive to staff members who were trying to assist patients on the phone.

The magistrates gave Baber a six month custodial sentence.

Baber had previously appeared In court in January after he demanded drugs at a GP surgery in Newport.

Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “We are in the midst of a national health emergency and my officers are doing everything they can to limit the spread of infection, protect their NHS colleagues and help save lives.

"It is completely unacceptable that people are using this virus as a weapon in these extremely challenging times. Not only is this vile behaviour, but it causes a huge personal impact on those officers and their families too.

“This sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to cough and spit at police officers, or anyone else responding to this crisis.

"You will be arrested and you will face the consequences of your actions.”