A MAN spat inside a police van, telling officers he had coronavirus after being arrested.

Dale Willis, 25, appeared before magistrates on July 2 charged with theft, criminal damage and public order offences.

The court heard how Willis had been arrested on May 12 following reports he was refusing to leave an Evesham house.

Emily Clewer, prosecuting, told magistrates in Kidderminster that police were called to a domestic incident.

She said: "While there, he was shouting and refusing to leave. Eventually he did leave, swearing at one of the officers.

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"He was then arrested and on the way to the police station, he shouted further expletives then said he had coronavirus, shouting “I have corona” before spitting on the walls and doors of the police van."

On the theft offence, the court heard how Willis, who has has seven previous convictions, six of which are theft related, had stolen an Oral B toothbrush from Superdrug in Evesham on March 23 this year.

Ms Clewer told the court: “He went into the shop at about 11.30am where he removed an Oral B toothbrush and put it in his coat. He was confronted by the store manager but denied having the toothbrush. He then barged past the manager and ran out the door.”

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Willis, of Shaw Walk, Malvern, pleaded guilty to all three charges, and the court heard he now lives with a friend in Malvern, but had stolen the toothbrush while homeless.

Representing Willis, Mark Turnbull said: "At the time of the theft he was of no fixed abode, and was being moved onto Universal Credit, so there was a period in which he had no income.

"The offence on May 12 took place at his mother’s address. He doesn’t get on well with his mother’s partner, so they had a dispute."

Mr Turnbull explained he now lives with a friend in Malvern and the family had given him a place to stay.

He also told the court that when Willis arrived at the police station he admitted he did not actually have coronavirus.

Chair of the bench, Gareth Thomas, told Willis he was lucky to have friends who took him in, urging him not to let them down.

He handed Willis a 12-month community order as well as ordering him to repay the cost of the toothbrush, as well as a total of £230 in costs.