Published: 18:44, 28 March 2020
| Updated: 17:30, 29 March 2020
A man has been arrested for reportedly spitting in the face of a supermarket worker as fears over the spread of coronavirus grow.
Dramatic pictures show the suspect being held on the ground by police outside Iceland in Whitstable's High Street this afternoon.
Officers even had to put a spit-hood over his head before they handcuffed him and took him into custody.
Following the incident, Oliver Cook, 35, was charged with common assault.
Cook, of no fixed address, has been bailed and is due to appear before magistrates in May.
The unsavoury incident comes amid supermarkets going to greater lengths to enforce social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19.
It is also a second blow for the high street branch, which last week had a large window pane smashed.
On the man's arrest, the store manager said the suspect - who had previously been barred - refused to leave the supermarket when asked.
"He then spat in a staff member's face," he added. "We got the police here and he was arrested.
"All my staff are fine - it's just more of a shock than anything, especially because of the coronavirus.
"My staff have been fantastic over the last couple of weeks, so incidents like this are very disappointing."
The Crown Prosecution Service this week announced that anyone who coughs at key workers could be charged with common assault.
The measures were introduced following reports of police officers, shop workers and vulnerable groups being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have coronavirus.
In Beltinge, near Herne Bay, a gang of men coughed in the face of a 73-year-old woman while shouting "corona, corona".
Kent Police has been asked for further details on today's arrest.
More by this authorJoe Walker