A MAN spat in the face of a female police officer who was trying to charge him for attempted robbery, a court heard.

Luke Wrenn, of Clough Avenue in Longford, had been taken to North Cheshire Custody Suite following his arrest on October 29 this year.

But while there, the 36-year-old had refused to co-operate with officers and become increasingly aggressive resulting him being kept in a cell as Sgt Sarah Kirkbride charged him.

After opening the hatch to the door, Wrenn spat directly in her face leaving the officer with spittle in her eye and requiring both a Covid-19 and hepatitis tests.

At Liverpool Crown Court, Stella Hayden, prosecuting, said on Friday, December 3, that earlier that day, Wrenn had entered the Ladbrokes bookmakers on Horsemarket Street in Warrington town centre.

Philippa Hampson was working alone in the store and Wrenn approached her till saying 'give me the money' and telling her he had 'something' in his pocket.

She pressed the panic button which activated a loudspeaker announcement in the store after which another man approached Wren and 'chased him out'.

CCTV then captured Wrenn entering the Lidl store on Fennel Street at around 2.15pm where he picked up a number of items of meat worth around £90 and left without paying.

Officers arrested him at around 3.50pm after reports a man had been attempting to sell steaks to passers by.

Ms Hayden described how Wrenn had been 'aggressive and threatening' after his arrest and had tried to grab a mobile phone from Sgt Kirkbride before spitting at her and calling her a 'slag'.

In a victim personal statement read to the court, Ms Hampson described how the attempted robbery had left her 'petrified' and suffering from panic attacks while Sgt Kirkbride said she was now 'naturally fearful' in her job.

"All I did was go to work," she added. "No person should be subjected to such a vile act."

The court heard that Wrenn, who appeared via video link from HMP Altcourse, had 36 previous convictions for 70 offences including a number concerning violent behaviour towards police officers.

A week before the incident, on October 22, he had received a six-week suspended sentence for being drunk and disorderly and spitting at another female police officer.

Sarah Griffin, defending, said Wrenn, who pleaded guilty to charges of attempted robbery, theft and assaulting an emergency worker, had a number of mental health issues including Asperger's syndrome and had struggled due to the 'pressures of lockdown'.

She said: "He is genuinely remorseful and has had time to reflect on his actions.

"Prison is difficult for him and he has been bullied and has had to move wings but he has now seen it as a way of resetting his life."

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said Wrenn's crimes were 'particularly disgusting and offensive' and sentenced him to 37 months and six weeks in prison.

Wrenn will also be made the subject of a five-year restraining order not to enter the Warrington town centre branch of Ladbrokes or approach Ms Hampson.