Police were allegedly coughed at and bitten by a man suspected of stealing alcohol from a Tesco.

On the morning of Saturday, March 28, Essex Police received reports staff at Tesco Express in High Street, Ongar, were abused by a man who allegedly drove off with stolen alcohol.

Officers located the man, and while making an arrest, the man allegedly coughed at and bit them.

A 25-year-old man from was Ongar arrested on suspicion of theft, common assault on an emergency worker, common assault, criminal damage, failing to stop and possession of cannabis has been released on bail until Wednesday, April 8.

Over the weekend, Essex Police reported numerous incidents of individuals using the threat of coronavirus as a 'weapon' against officers across the county.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells said: “Unbelievably, this weekend we have seen suspects using the COVID-19 virus as a weapon against officers – who, in these incredibly challenging times continue in their duty to keep the community safe.

"In just a 12-hour period, we had officers who had been kicked, spat and coughed at after responding to emergency calls from shop workers, who were also just doing their job.”

“Fortunately incidents like these remain rare but anyone who decides to assault an emergency worker, by any means, will be arrested, will be brought into custody and will be put before a court.

“I’m pleased to say that the majority of people we have spoken to – be it on patrol, engaging with the community or responding to calls for help – have welcomed, thanked and embraced us and recognised the fact that we all need to work together. It’s everyone’s job to stay at home to keep our communities safe, protect the NHS and save lives.”

“We will continue, as always, to keep you safe, to help you and to catch anyone determined in breaking the law.”

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