WE have proudly reported on the heroic efforts of our emergency workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is why it's particularly aggravating to bring you news of spitting attacks on police officers, when anxieties around germs and infection are so much on people's minds.

Spitting at somebody is revolting at the best of times.

But as a magistrate said this week, during global fears about the spread of coronavirus it is a particularly 'low and sickening form of assault' where the spit becomes a weapon.

Sadly the incident reported on page four - which led to the perpetrator from Kendal being sentenced to 56 days behind bars - is not an isolated one.

Nine Cumbrian police officers have been spat at in the last two months alone.

In one case, the culprit spat right into a constable's eyes.

During the same incident, a paramedic was also the victim of spitting.

And there have been similar instances in other parts of the country too.

The anxiety this will have caused the blue light workers concerned must have been unbearable.

We need the emergency services more than ever but the victims may now have to be removed from duty while they undergo tests for the virus. It’s bad enough they work frontline roles which can bring them into direct contact with people who may have coronavirus - to then have someone deliberately spit in your face must be distressing to say the least.

To attack people in such a way, given the sensitivities around the coronavirus pandemic, implies a level of malice and lack of empathy many of us would find hard to comprehend.

What is the matter with these people?

Cumbria Police’s Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said it best when he described one of the assaults in the county as 'deplorable'.

The authorities have united to condemn such disgusting attacks and we would like to add our own voice to this.

They warned that anyone found coughing or spitting at a member of the emergency services would face serious criminal consequences and we are pleased they have been as good as their word.