Elderly couple coughed on while walking, starting cop hunt
An elderly couple have been left "distressed" after they were deliberately coughed on while out walking in NSW's Hunter Region.
A 73-year-old man and a 68-year-old woman were walking along Victoria Parade, Nelson Bay, on Sunday when a White Nissan Navara pulled up next to them as they approached the pedestrian crossing.
Police were told a man leaned his head and shoulders out of the passenger window and coughed - making a retching sound - over the couple.
The couple contacted police and officers from Port Stephens/Hunter Police District commenced an investigation.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys claimed the incident caused the couple a "great deal of distress".
"Inside the vehicle they laughed and drove off. Police have the number plate of that vehicle and they are looking for CCTV," he said during a press conference this afternoon.
"Inquiries were made last night but it is clear if you were in this vehicle, if you're the owner of the car … you would be best to get yourself down to the police station and sort this matter out."
Police are appealing for information from the community to locate the vehicle and identify the occupants at the time of the incident.
In particular, investigators would like to speak with a man who they believe may be able to assist with their inquiries.
He is described as being of caucasian appearance with tanned skin, aged in his late teens or early 20s, with short, dark, curly hair.
He was last seen wearing a red and dark-coloured checkered top.
Police are urging anyone with information, including dashcam from the area around the time of the incident, to contact Nelson Bay police as soon as possible.
This incident comes just days after the NSW government introduced a $5000 on-the-spot fine for anyone caught spitting or coughing on health care workers or police.
"In my view, what we are seeking to do this afternoon is to send messages to people that I cannot actually believe do what they do," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said last week.
"Unfortunately, we have had a series of incidents now where some of the most incredible frontline workers, keeping us safe, have actually had people spitting on them and people coughing on them.
"How incredibly ridiculous is that, that anybody could think it is acceptable to spit or cough on frontline health care workers, health officials, police."
Police have issued more than 200 fines against people over the Easter long weekend for breaching the state's COVID-19 restrictions.
Originally published as Elderly couple coughed on while walking