Man jailed after spitting at police after claiming to have coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 20:25 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 20:25 01 May 2020

Police on patrol in Great Yarmouth town centre. Picture: PC Andy Hunt

Police on patrol in Great Yarmouth town centre. Picture: PC Andy Hunt

PC Andy Hunt

A man who said he had coronavirus before spitting at police officers has been sentenced to seven months imprisonment.

Andy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation. Picture: Supplied by Andy SymondsAndy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation. Picture: Supplied by Andy Symonds

Jamie Savory was arrested by officers in Ivy Green in Gorleston for being drunk and disorderly on April 20.

The 39-year-old was taken into police custody where he told officers he had COVID-19 before spitting at them.

Savory, of Ivy Green, Gorleston, was further arrested for assault on an emergency worker and later charged with a number of offences.

Appearing at Norwich Magistrates Court on April 21, Savory pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker, drunk and disorderly and breaching a conditional discharge.

He was sentenced to a total of seven months imprisonment.

MORE: Spitting offences ‘awful and abhorrent’ say police, after officers face six incidents in Great Yarmouth

Superintendent Mike Britton, Great Yarmouth policing commander, said: “Assaulting emergency service workers in their duty is unacceptable at any time but clearly the public health crisis we currently find ourselves in makes it all the more deplorable.

“Such incidents against police or emergency service workers will not be tolerated and we will take action where necessary.”

It is the latest prison sentence handed out to offenders who spat or coughed into officer’s faces while claiming to have coronavirus.

Joanne Turner, 35, of William Kett Close, Norwich, who was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment on March 27 for offences including common assault of an emergency worker.

And Richard Law, 44, of Northumberland Street, Norwich, was given a 16-week sentence after coughing four times in the face of a police officer as they tried to disperse a gathering on Easter Sunday.

MORE: Norfolk Police Federation hits out at the “awful and abhorrent” practice of offenders coughing and spitting

Norfolk Constabulary said officers have been spat at or coughed on multiple times since the coronavirus lockdown began, with police chiefs deriding the behaviour as “awful and abhorrent”.

Between March 23 and April 28, officers in Great Yarmouth alone were involved in six separate incidents in which people either spat and coughed at them - or threatened to.

Andy Symonds, Norfolk’s Police Federation chairman, said the federation has fought hard for adequate PPE and were lobbying MPs, including Norwich South MP who has met representatives.

He said: “Since late February we have had around 10 of these, on top of other assaults. Threats or actual coughing at officers or officers being spat at. It is awful, abhorrent and another stressor on police officers’ work.

“Their other halves are seeing them off to their shifts and worrying that they could bring coronavirus back into their homes.”

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