Man who spat at police officers while claiming to have coronavirus jailed

A ‘despicable and disgraceful’ man who spat at police officers and claimed he had symptoms of coronavirus has been jailed for a year.

Paul Leivers, 48, admitted two counts of assault on an emergency worker after being arrested in Mansfield on Thursday. Nottinghamshire Police said Leivers gobbed at custody officers.

Sentencing him at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Leo Pyle said: ‘These are two distinct acts and it was appalling behaviour, these offences were deliberate and pre-mediated.

‘Emergency workers have a difficult job at the best of time, even more so at the minute and the court will not flinch to protect officers.’

The court heard Leivers, from Mansfield, did not have coronavirus or any symptoms of the disease.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper said: ‘This sentence sends out a very powerful and clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated in any shape or form and especially not now in the current climate.

‘In these worrying times for us all, having someone spitting at front line officers threatening them with coronavirus is both despicable and appalling.

‘Our officers are putting their duty to the public ahead of their own welfare at this current time. They put themselves at risk every single to day in order to protect our communities – they should not and will not have to put up with this.

‘I want to thank the judge for making an example of this situation which I know will send a message loud and clear not just here in Nottinghamshire but across the country.’

Chief Constable Craig Guildford added: ‘This is the exact reassurance our officers need – that this will not be tolerated and new powers we now have means swift action will be taken to deal with those that choose to offend in this way.

‘Despicable, thoughtless and disgraceful acts such as this will not go unpunished.’

The force said the officers who were spat at are safe and well.