Everyday The Mail proudly carries stories about the heroic efforts of our blue light services during the coronavirus pandemic, and other key workers.

That’s why it is so disappointing to have to report that a man is due to be sentenced for spitting on two emergency workers, at a time when anxieties around germs and infection are at an all-time high.

John White, 56, of Longway, Barrow, is due to be sentenced next month after admitting spitting on a paramedic, the healthcare worker was trying to help him, and spitting into the eyes of a police officer who confronted him.

The anxiety this will have caused the two emergency workers must have been unbearable.

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.

Our emergency workers are needed now more than ever, and incidents like this could take them off the frontline.

Cumbria Police’s Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said it best when he described White’s offences as ‘deplorable’.