THE police and crime commissioner for Worcester says 'coronavirus' attacks and threats against frontline emergency workers put lives in danger and will not be tolerated.

Prosecutors have said anyone making threats of coronavirus infection will face serious criminal charges after police officers, shop workers and vulnerable people being deliberately coughed at by those claiming to have the disease. The Crown Prosecution Service said such behaviour could be classed as common assault and attacks on emergency workers were punishable by up to two years in prison.

Although no incidents in Worcester have been made public, elsewhere an RSPCA officer trying to rescue an injured swan was abused and spat at by teenagers who told her to “have corona”.

In another incident Darren Rafferty, 45, admitted to three counts of assaulting an emergency worker after claiming to have coronavirus and directing coughs at Metropolitan police officers.

West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Assaults of any kind against police officers should never be tolerated, and reports of coronavirus related attacks on frontline emergency services staff are particularly worrying.

"The emergency services are working incredibly hard for our communities, in what is an extremely stressful time for the UK. Police officers, and other frontline staff work hard to keep our communities safe, often at the expense of spending valuable time with their families.

"Perpetrators of these crimes not only put officers in danger but their immediate families too.”