Police are hunting a teenager who "assaulted" a Scots healthcare worker by coughing in her face.

The incident happened at around 1.40pm on Friday near Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

The incident happened around 1.40pm on Friday, 27 March, when the woman was driving home after work along the unclassified road from Inchmarlo Golf Course to Brathens Wood when she saw a youth waving to attract her attention.

When she stopped her car, the teenager coughed directly at her face, telling her that she would now get Coronavirus, before running off laughing.

He is believed to have joined a group of other youths.

Police Scotland say the incident is currently being treated as an assault.

Officers are appealing for public help, particularly anyone with dash-cam footage.

David Milner, from the Banchory Community Council Resilience Team, said: “I’m quite disgusted to hear that an incident like this has happened. There are a great deal of NHS workers working very hard right now and they need help, not hindrance.

“I sincerely hope there are no health implications for the victim.

“I believe it is still under police investigation.”

Sergeant Garry Garrow, of Banchory Police Station, added: “This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It left the woman distressed and fearful.

HeraldScotland: Police Scotland vehicle.

“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.”

The suspect is described as aged between 13 and 16 years old, slim build, about 5ft 6ins with a local accent. He was wearing a light grey hoodie, a black jacket and black or dark blue joggers.

It comes days after there was outrage over video circulating on social media of youngsters captured coughing at passers-by

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Scotland warned that it will take action to protect public safety at "all times" adding that it 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," said a spokesman

"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."

The First Minister says there have only been 25 fixed penalty notices issued in Scotland to people ignoring coronavirus regulations.

It is a criminal offence to breach the rules about social distancing aimed at tackling the spread of Covid-19.

Police Scotland dealt with a number of incidents over the weekend including house parties and groups of people gathered outdoors.

But a senior officer said the "vast majority" of people were complying with the rules.

Criminals who deliberately cough at police officers while claiming to have coronavirus could face up to two years in jail - a top prosecutor for England and Wales warned at the weekend

Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), spoke out following a string of threats linked to the deadly virus amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said assaults against emergency workers were punishable by up to two years in prison, while coughs directed as a threat towards other key workers or members of the public could be charged as common assault.

Mr Hill said: "Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.

"Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties."

The warning comes after Darren Rafferty, 45, admitted on Wednesday to deliberately coughing at Metropolitan Police officers before claiming he was suffering from coronavirus.

He admitted causing grievous bodily harm to his former partner and three counts of assault on an emergency worker and faces sentencing next month.

David Mott, 40, was jailed for 26 weeks on Wednesday after threatening to spit at police in Blackburn after officers questioned him about being with two others following the announcement of stricter social distancing rules on Monday night, the CPS said.

West Midlands Police said 35-year-old Mehdi Razmdideh has been charged with shoplifting and assault after he allegedly spat and coughed at shop workers while shouting: "I've got coronavirus."