A MAN has been jailed for 56 days after spitting at a police officer.

Stephen Kirkbride, 55, received the sentence on Thursday at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court as he pleaded guilty to assault of an emergency worker.

Kirkbride, who is Hepatitis C positive, spat at PC Carrick following an altercation in Barrow on 7 April 2021.

PC Carrick was part of a group of officers that attended Barrow Train Station after receiving a call about a man, Kirkbride, who was drunk and acting aggressively.

The court heard that the officers decided the best way to defuse the situation was to offer Kirkbride a lift home.

Kirkbride said he lived in Ulverston, but refused to give an actual address, before becoming aggressive again, and swearing at the officers.

Police were then required to put Kirkbride to the floor, during which time the 55-year-old spat at PC Carrick.

PC Carrick said he saw a spray of saliva hit his chest and added in a statement read out in court: “Spitting at someone is one of the worst things you can do to somebody, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The police officer was further worried for himself and his family when discovering that Kirkbride is Hepatitis C positive.

The court heard that Kirkbride believes he may have caught the virus as he took drugs when he was younger.

Defence solicitor Maureen Fawcett highlighted that Kirkbride was ashamed of his actions.

Mrs Fawcett said: “As you can see he has been quite tearful today. He is ashamed and embarrassed.

“He has said: ‘I just can’t remember, I was so drunk. Give me what you think I deserve because it was absolutely wrong what I did. If it is jail, then it should be jail.’”

Brian Carruthers said there was a reason behind Kirkbride’s vile behaviour, but he would not disclose it to the probation officer.

He said: “When asked about the motive, Mr Kirkbride says there is reason, but is not prepared to discuss because he doesn’t want to use any excuses.

“He accepts full responsibility and is extremely sorry for the distress caused to the officers.

“He is not prepared to say where he is living as he doesn’t want to cause any distress to the person he is living with and bring any trouble.

“There are some very concerning offences on his record to which Kirkbride said ‘are in the past,’ but they are relevant.

"There have been breaches of previous orders.

“He accepts he was drunk at the time and what he did was disgusting and would have caused a lot of distress to the officers.”

When sentencing Kirkbride, the chairman of the bench said Kirkbride was beyond rehabilitation.

They said: “We see no justification for suspending. We see no prospect of rehabilitation. This was a serious assault on a public officer.

“The custody threshold has been crossed and it is appropriate that you go into immediate custody for 56 days with immediate effect.”

Kirkbride has also been ordered to pay £100 in compensation to PC Carrick on his release.