A teenager who coughed in a female healthcare worker’s face and said she’d catch coronavirus has been urged to surrender himself to police.

The hoodie-clad youth, aged between 13 and 16, ambushed the woman a week ago as she was driving along an Aberdeenshire back road.

The horrific attack happened at 1.40pm on the unclassified route from Inchmarlo Golf Course to Brathens Wood near Banchory.

The woman was flagged down by a youth described as 5ft 6in, slim with a local accent, wearing a light grey hoodie, black jacket and black or dark blue joggers.

When she stopped her car the teenager coughed directly in her face telling her she would now get coronavirus.

He then ran off into the woods laughing and is believed to have joined a group of other youths.

Today Sergeant Garry Garrow said: “This was more than just a prank, it left the woman distressed and fearful.

“I would ask parents if they think this may have been someone from their family to get in touch.

“Likewise, the person concerned should call us.

“There may be members of the community who know the person responsible.

“We appeal to them to assist with our ongoing investigation.

“This behaviour was despicable and in the current climate, absolutely unacceptable.”

The sergeant added: “Anyone who knows who any of these youths are should get in touch immediately.

“In particular we are asking for help to trace the young person seen on the black BMX type bike.”

Officers are keen to speak to speak to anyone who may have seen a group of teenagers near Brathens woods on the road between Banchory and Torphins, known locally as the Glassel Road.

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In particular police are seeking a young person seen around an hour after the assault on a black BMX type bike wearing a black full-face helmet.

He was in a group of four, two with bikes and two on foot. Passing drivers also asked to check any dash-cam footage.

Nearby residents in and around the woods are asked to check their residential CCTV before and after the time of the incident.

Sergeant Garrow said: “I’d like to thank those who have already contacted us with information.

“Banchory is a great community and when something like this occurs, everyone feels it.

Anyone with information should call Police Scotland on 101 or call anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.