A MAN under the influence of drink or drugs told a police officer he had coronavirus and then coughed in her face.

Blackburn magistrates heard Mohamed Asif Mahmood continued to spit and cough in the direction of officers as he was arrested and placed in a secure vehicle.

And District Judge Margaret McCormack told Mahmood his behaviour had been “absolutely appalling.”

“These officers were public servants doing their best in the middle of a pandemic,” said District Judge McCormack. “I do not know whether the officer has children or whether she has had to self isolate but this kind of behaviour could clearly affect her life. The compensation I am awarding in no way reflects the traumatic events she was subjected to.”

Mahmood, 35, of Hawk Street, Burnley, pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker and racially aggravated threatening behaviour. He was jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay £100 compensation.

Peter Bardsley, prosecuting, said police were called to Hawk Street on Monday at 3.30pm because the defendant’s parents were having problems with him. They were speaking to his sister when Mahmood became agitated. He was warned about his behaviour and told to calm down.

“It was clear he was under the influence of something and when the police asked what it was he said cocaine,” said Mr Bardsley. “He threatened to burn his parents’ house down and at that point was arrested and taken outside.”

Mr Bardsley said Mahmood became racially abusive calling the police officers “white Nazis” and calling one of them a “ginger bitch.”

“He then said he had coronavirus, laughed and coughed in the face of one of the officers,” said Mr Bardsley. “She felt his spit on her face.

"He was taken to the ground still coughing and spitting towards the officers.”

Jane Shaw, defending, said she couldn’t begin to persuade the court the offences didn’t cross the custody threshold.

“He has a problem with drink which seems to be behind all his offending,” said Miss Shaw.