A WAVE of hate crimes in which perpetrators have used coronavirus to target victims has emerged.

Racially-aggravated assaults and abuse as well as yobs coughing into the faces of people are some of the crimes that have taken place in the UK.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have not published the amount of coronavirus-related hate crimes that has been reported to the force yet but will be treating them "very seriously".

A GMP spokesman said: “Hatred and discrimination has never been tolerated in Greater Manchester and it will not be tolerated now.

"I would like to reassure residents and warn offenders that all reports of hate crime will be taken very seriously.

“We understand that the recent developments surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing people concern and it is challenging time for everyone.

"However in times like these it is important that our communities come together, stay strong and support one another – it is not an excuse to spread hatred.

“Greater Manchester is a region full of different faiths and backgrounds – this is something that we are proud of, it’s what makes us the area we are.

"We have pulled together before in times of crisis and that is what I am asking our communities to do again now."

GMP are urging victims and witnesses of hate crimes to contact them.

The force spokesman added: “I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of or has witnessed a hate crime to call GMP on 101 or 999 in emergencies.

"You can report a hate crime or a hate incident online by visiting www.report-it.org.uk.

"Local agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Community Voluntary Services can also report the incident on your behalf and provide you with advice and support.”

Bolton Council also provides support for hate crime victims.

For more information click here.