A man has been jailed for three months after spitting at police during the lockdown.

He was charged with aggravated assault after an incident in New Plymouth today.

The man had been on to several properties and was found by police staff nearby.

"As they were dealing with the man he became aggressive and spat at police.

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"As a result of the incident the man was charged with aggravated assault on police."

The man appeared in court this morning, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison.

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"Abhorrent behaviour such as spitting puts our police staff at risk, and understandably causes stress and angst," police said in a statement.

"In the current environment we have identified spitting as an escalating risk to both police officers and the community and it will not be tolerated.

"If someone does spit or cough on another person and infect them they risk being charged with infecting with disease under the Crimes Act and face a penalty of 14 years in prison should they be found guilty."

New Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said yesterday that eight police staff had been spat at. The maximum penalty for such an act is 14 years in prison.

Police are searching for two male teens on bikes after one of them told a police officer he was Covid-19 positive and then spat in the officer's face in Rangiora yesterday.

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Coster said anyone who spat deliberately on others was "thoughtless" and "malicious", he said.

"It is completely unacceptable."

Asked about the staff who have been spat on, Coster said they will be tested for Covid-19 "if that is needed".

There has also been an increased amount of reports of people spitting on hospital staff and supermarket workers.