A thug who tried to "cough phlegm" on a police officer while claiming to have coronavirus was given the maximum sentence available to the courts.

Adam Lewis, 55, was flagged up to a police officer on patrol after a member of the public spotted him trying car door handles.

Things turned ugly when the officer approached Lewis and attempted to search him in Westminster, London, on March 31.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard Lewis tried to resist and smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor.

Lewis then threatened the PC, telling him: "I am covid [sic] and I am going to cough in your face and you will get it."

He then coughed on the PC, who was trying to keep him at arm's reach, and fell to the floor.

Policeman on Patrol.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

The PC bent down to restrain Lewis, who attempted to cough up phlegm and tried to spit in his face.

Lewis also threatened to bite the officer after telling him that he had a bad disease and that Lewis was going to give it to him.

After the PC called for assistance, other Met officers arrived and Lewis was arrested.

He was convicted of assault on an emergency worker and jailed for six months today, the maximum sentence available to a magistrates' court for a single offence.

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Chief Superintendent Helen Harper, from the Met's Area West Command Unit, said: "My officers are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and police to the very best of their abilities - and we are appreciate that the vast majority of people are making every effort to comply with the measures the government has introduced.

"While these type of assaults are thankfully a rare occurrence, this incident was horrendous and if we do encounter this type of unacceptable behaviour we will be robust in our response.

"I hope the sentence today conveys a strong message that it will not be tolerated."