A CHIPPENHAM man has been jailed for 26 weeks after coughing in the face of police officers and claiming he had coronavirus.

Byronn Plumb, 30, of no fixed address, appeared virtually at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to three counts of assaulting officers, criminal damage to a police van, being drunk and disorderly in a public place and Section 5 Pubic Order offence.

At approximately 3.30pm on Saturday May 16, officers were called to Greenway Lane in Chippenham following reports of a disorder.

When officers arrived, Plumb was visibly intoxicated and was being aggressive and verbally abusive. He was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and then proceeded to cough in the face of an officer whilst shouting that he had coronavirus.

Once inside the police van, Plumb continued to be aggressive and caused damage to the vehicle. Officers required leg restraints for Plumb but whilst applying them, he bit one of the officers on the foot. A spit hood was then applied while Plumb continuously spat on the floor - he eventually removed the spit hood himself whilst in the van and continued to bang his head against the vehicle door.

Whilst in custody, a decision was made to take Plumb to the Royal United Hospital due to the self-inflicted injuries to his head. As officers attempted to escort him from his cell, he coughed multiple times at an officer, causing saliva to land on him. Plumb again told the officer he had coronavirus and smirked.

Whilst in hospital, Plumb became so abusive towards staff and those around him, that he had to be moved to a different ward away from other patients. He was further arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act and later taken back to custody.

PC James 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."

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."