A man on an ecstasy binge smiled after he coughed over police officers and claimed to have coronavirus.

Byronn Plumb, 30, now stands to miss his grandmother’s funeral in July after he was jailed for six months at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court for the disgusting attack.

Prosecutor James Burnham said police had been called to reports of a man acting in a disorderly way at the MS-2 convenience store on Greenway Lane, Chippenham, on Saturday afternoon.

When they arrived at 3.40pm they found an apparently drunk Plumb stumbling, swearing and claiming someone had stolen his phone.

He tried to get the police to arrest the person he believed to be responsible for the theft and, when he didn’t get his way, told police he would kill himself. He pulled a needle from his rucksack and began stabbing himself with it before aiming waist high kicks at a nearby wall.

After he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, Plumb claimed he had coronavirus.

Other police officers turned up and tried to get him into a custody van. Plumb resisted, forcing officers to put restraints around his legs.

A PC Baker put his foot on the ground beneath the suspect’s head in order to prevent him injuring himself. Plumb wrapped his teeth around the officer’s boot, leaving it covered in saliva.

He continued to bang his head on the side of the van as he was taken to the police station – and also tried to bite through his leg restraints.

Once at Melksham police station, officers decided to take him on to the Royal United Hospital in Bath due to the injuries he’d done himself. He objected, swearing and telling police: “I don’t need an ambulance. I’m old enough to make my own decisions. You wait to see what happens if you try to take me to hospital.”

He stood at the door of his cell and coughed around four or five times, with one of the constables feeling droplets hit him in the face. He smiled as he said: “I’ve got coronavirus. I hope you get it too.”

Officers accompanied the man to hospital in Bath, where he swore in earshot of other patients and NHS staff.

Defending, Alun Morgan said his client was remorseful and had very little recollection of his behaviour due to drugs he had taken that day.

He had been using drugs since he was nine years old.. He had been raised by his grandmother, who died in February. Mr Morgan said: “He took that, understandably, very badly. His life has in essence spiralled out of control since that time.”

His grandmother’s funeral is expected to take place over the summer, with Plumb concerned he would miss it if he was jailed.

Plumb, who appeared in court via video link from Melksham police station and flanked by three officers, told the judge: “I wasn’t drunk. I was on my normal medication and I also took three ecstasy tablets and two acid tablets. I didn’t know what I was doing.

“The two police officers that I assaulted, I’ve seen them this afternoon. I’ve told them that the way I was, the drugs I’d taken, I apologised to them and they accepted my apology and basically I said it’s not going to happen again.

“I do want to get off the drugs.

“I’m sick of it. I can’t keep on otherwise I’m going to end up dead.”

Plumb, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to assaulting three emergency workers, being drunk and disorderly, criminal damage to a police van, and disorderly behaviour.

District Judge Tim Pattinson jailed Plumb for 26 weeks.

The sentence was welcomed by Wiltshire Police's chief constable Kier Pritchard and Chippenham police officer PC James Rossiter.

Mr Rossiter said: "Plumb's behaviour from arrest through to charge was absolutely unacceptable.

"He continuously acted in an abusive and aggressive manner, and his behaviour was so disgraceful in the hospital that he was refused treatment by one nurse who was concerned for her own personal safety - he then had to be moved away from other patients who required treatment.

"We are all well aware now more so than ever, of the inspirational work being carried out by all NHS staff in our hospitals, and the behaviour shown by Plumb within the hospital ward was disrespectful and should never be tolerated." 

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard added: "Yet again I am completely disgusted to hear of such abhorrent behaviour. Officers and NHS staff are human beings too and they all have their own anxieties about coming to work on the frontline during a global health pandemic. The actions of this man have only added to their concerns at a time when they are doing their very best to keep us all safe."