Police are hunting a teenager who assaulted a health worker by deliberately coughing on her and telling her she had coronavirus in Banchory.
The woman was driving along the unclassified road between Inchmarlo Golf Course to Brathen Wood on Friday when she noticed the boy sitting on the ground and waving to attract her attention.
When she stopped the car he ran up to her and coughed in her face before laughing and saying she now had the virus.
The youth then ran off into the woods where he is believed to have joined a group of others.
The incident took place at around 1.40pm.
Police are now looking to trace the suspect who is described as being around 5ft6 and aged between 13 and 16-years-old with a slim build and a local accent.
He was wearing a light grey hoodie, a black jacket and black or dark blue joggers.
Police say the incident is being treated as assault.
Sergeant Garry Garrow, of Banchory Police Station, said: “This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It left the woman distressed and fearful.
“I am appealing to anyone who saw what happened to get in touch, particularly if they saw this youth before or after the assault, or know who he is.
“I would also ask parents to remind their children that this kind of behaviour is more than just a prank, it can cause genuine fear and increased anxiety in the current climate.
“Officers will not tolerate anyone behaving like this and take robust action to find those responsible.”
A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “Scotland’s prosecution service will take action to protect public safety at all times and has a range of responses available to tackle unacceptable criminal conduct that may arise during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Any person who deliberately endangers life, or spreads fear and alarm by pretending to do so, will be dealt with robustly.
“It is difficult to imagine a more compelling case for prosecution in the public interest.
“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is working closely with Police Scotland to ensure continued effective investigation and prosecution of crime that places public safety as a priority.”
Anyone with information that can assist with enquiries is asked to call Police Scotland on 101.
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