A MAN has been put behind bars after spitting in the faces of police officers and threatening to infect them with coronavirus.

Tony John Gallichan, of Kerley Road, Bournemouth admitted two charges of assaulting an emergency worker at Bournemouth Crown Court on May 15 and was sentenced to eight months in prison.

At around 12.30am on Sunday, April 12, officers attended an address on Sterte Close and arrested Gallichan, 41, for an unconnected matter.

He was handcuffed and escorted to custody in a police vehicle. During the journey he threatened to “knock out” the officers and stated he would give them coronavirus by spitting in their faces.

He was taken to Poole police station and when an officer opened the door to the vehicle the defendant spat in his face.

A female officer took the place of their colleague and Gallichan was taken onto Bournemouth police station. On the journey to Bournemouth he was abusive toward her and spat in her face.

Gallichan told officers: “You’ll catch coronavirus if I get one of you in the eye.”

The defendant was taken into custody at Bournemouth police station.

In interview the defendant confirmed that he had not tested positive for coronavirus and did not have any symptoms.

Chief Constable James Vaughan, of Dorset Police, said: “We have been working together with our emergency services colleagues and partner agencies to highlight the unacceptable trend in abuse of frontline staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This case demonstrates how we are experiencing people using infecting our officers with coronavirus as a threat and this is something we cannot tolerate.

“Our officers are working hard to keep our communities safe and should not come into work to face the threat of being infected by this horrible disease.

“Spitting at officers is a despicable offence at any time but during the current public health emergency it is particularly abhorrent.

“We will continue to deal swiftly and robustly with any offences of this nature and ensure offenders are brought before the court to face justice.”