Thief who spat at police officer and said 'I have coronavirus' is jailed

A message left on a beach groyne in Whitstable, Kent, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus (Picture: Getty)

A man who spat at a police officer and told him “I have coronavirus” has been jailed.

Oliver Cook, 35, was arrested outside an Iceland supermarket in Whitstable, Kent, at around 6.20pm on Sunday after he attempted to steal meat, police said.

Officers were forced to put a spit-hood over Cook’s head after he attacked one of them on Oxford Street.

He also kicked a second policeman as he was being placed in a van.

Cook was later charged with two counts of assaulting an emergency worker, theft and criminal damage.

Read more: UK coronavirus death toll rises by 31% in biggest daily increase as total reaches 2,352

People enjoy the spring sunshine on the seafront at Whitstable on Mother's Day. (Getty)

Chief Inspector Elena Hall, District Commander for Canterbury and Dover, said: “All emergency services and our whole community, which includes our officers and staff, are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances.”

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

She added: "We will not tolerate attacks of this kind.

"We will seek the prosecution of anyone who spits at or otherwise assaults any of our team, making sure the court knows it is aggravated by any claims to have the coronavirus infection."

Cook, of no fixed abode, admitted the charges at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and was jailed for a total of 120 days.

Coronavirus: what happened today?

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter