Two men have been jailed for spitting at police officers and one said he would “give officers a horrible disease” and “hope they die”.
Three officers from Dyfed-Powys Police have been assaulted in Ceredigion in the past week and offenders who coughed and spat in their faces have been jailed.
In one incident, a man spat directly into a police officer’s eye, repeatedly spat inside a police vehicle while shouting he would give officers a “horrible disease” and said “hope they die.”
Just a few days later, a second incident occurred where a man told an officer he had coronavirus before coughing in his face.
The first incident occurred when officers were trying to help an 18-year-old Nathan Newman who needed medical attention.
Police were called to Aberaeron at 5.20pm on June 4 following a report of an unconscious man on the floor in North Road.
Newman was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and illegal substances and throughout his treatment he was abusive towards ambulance service staff and was behaving in an aggressive and threatening manner.
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Inspector Rhys Jones said: “His condition improved and he appeared to have calmed down, so he was helped to his feet by a PC.
“Without warning he suddenly spat in the officer’s face, with saliva going in the PC’s eye.
“He was immediately arrested and a spit hood was put on him as he continued to spit while on the floor.”
Newman was put in leg restraints as a result of his behaviour but he continued to lash out and make threats towards officers before he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and was taken to hospital for medical treatment.
Inspector Jones said that on the way to the hospital Newman managed to take off the hood and spat repeatedly across the back of the police van.
“His abusive behaviour continued and he shouted that all he could do was spit, five officers a ‘horrible disease’ and ‘hope they die’.
“This is a completely unacceptable way to behave towards officers who had been called to help when he needed medical attention.”
Newman was charged with assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage, which he admitted at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on June 6. He was sentenced to 32 weeks in prison.
A few days after this incident, police were called to the Co-Op store in Penparcau, where a man had run off with a charity box and a purse after being found in the staff room.
Christopher Jones, of First Avenue, was stopped a short distance away as he matched the description given by staff. He was found with cash and a bank card in someone else’s name, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary.
While in the back of a police car, the 41-year-old turned towards the officer sat next to him, said he had coronavirus and coughed in his face.
Jones was charged with burglary and assaulting an emergency worker and appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on June 11 where he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 28 weeks in prison.
Inspector Jones said: “We will not tolerate assaults or abusive behaviour towards emergency service workers, who are carrying out their duty to protect the public.
“In both these instances, officers were left fearing their health might suffer as a result of an offender’s appalling behaviour. Nobody should be made to feel this way while carrying out their work.”
Dyfed-Powys Police said an officer was also spat at while booking a woman into custody on June 8.