A BOLTON man has been jailed for 22 weeks after spitting in the face of a police officer.

Mohammad Tanweer Hussain, 42, of Bromwich Street, Bolton, originally pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting one emergency worker and racially aggravated harassment of another following an incident in Bolton on Saturday, May 23.

But on Monday, June 1 at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court, Hussain changed his pleas and admitted both offences while a further offence of racially aggravated harassment was dropped.

The court heard that Hussain spat at PC Peter Charlesworth and subjected PC Jamie McGowan to racist abuse during the incident.

Hussain was sentenced to 22 weeks imprisonment for the assault and 12 weeks imprisonment for racially aggravated harassment to run concurrently.

CPS prosecutors in the North West have said they will continue to bring criminal charges against people who deliberately cough or spit at emergency workers and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, reinforced his team's support for emergency workers across the region and warned those who commit such crimes that they will face prosecution.

A snapshot of recent cases shows that where the victims are police officers or NHS staff, prosecutors are making full use of the specific offence of assaulting an emergency worker, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison. Prosecutors are also bringing the aggravating features of spitting, coughing and threatening victims with coronavirus to the attention of the court so that this can be taken into account when sentencing.

Mr Goldman said: "Anyone who deliberately coughs or spits at an emergency worker and threatens to infect them with COVID-19 should be left in no doubt that we are taking these cases extremely seriously.

"As recent cases before the courts show, we are prosecuting those who commit such crimes with assault, and offenders face up to 12 months in prison.

"Police officers, NHS staff and other emergency workers should be able to perform their vitally important roles without meeting such disgusting and potentially dangerous behaviour.

"We will not hesitate to prosecute those who put the safety of our 999 staff and the safety of the public at risk in this way."