A meat thief who spat at a police officer and told him "I have coronavirus " has been jailed.

Oliver Cook, 35, was pinned to the ground and arrested outside a supermarket outside Iceland in Whitstable, Kent, at around 6.20pm on Sunday March 29 after he was seen trying to steal meat.

As Cook was searched, he spat at a police officer and laughed as he said: "I have coronavirus."

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

Cook, of no fixed abode, admitted the charges at Medway Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 31 March and was jailed for a total of 120 days.

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Oliver Cook was pinned to the ground and arrested outside Iceland

Supermarket staff called police after Cook became abusive when challenged over shoplifting and damaging a shop display.

After spitting at one of the officers who searched him, Cook kicked another as he was put into a police van.

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

"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 know it is aggravated by any claims to have the coronavirus infection."