Police have issued a stark warning after an 11-year-old boy joked about having Covid-19 as he approached a passing jogger near Dundee.
The man, from Dundee, was approached while running in Kingoodie last week and admitted he was left shocked following the incident.
Police confirmed they had been in attendance after it was reported to them, describing the incident as “unacceptable”.
The jogger, who wished to remain anonymous, said the boy was with his mum and dad at the time of the incident, who did not do anything about their son’s behavior.
He said: “It was probably a bit of a hoax, but you just don’t know when someone comes up to you and says that.
“It is malicious and using a threat like that is not a pleasant thing for someone to do.
“I live with my dad who is 81, so it could be life or death and psychologically, it would unnerve people.
“I would hate for that to happen to an elderly person when they are out walking their dog for some youth to come up to them and breathe in their face, or worse.
“Everybody is doing their best to do social distancing.
“But his parents were with him and they didn’t say or do anything.
“A good parent would have said sorry, or told me he was just pulling my leg, but I noticed there was a jogger behind me and the boy went up to them and did the same thing.
“Again his parents didn’t say anything.
“I jogged for another five minutes but it was sitting heavily on my mind.
“I was worried about the elderly people I had passed further down the road, so I contacted the police and they sent someone out to have a word with him.
“Maybe the parents and the youth will wake up and realise you must not do that to people, it is a serious thing to be joking about.”
After the incident was reported to the police, officers traced the youth and gave him a warning in front of his parents.
Inspector Emma Bowman from Blairgowrie Police Station said: “Around 3pm on Thursday, 23 April, 2020, officers received a report of a youth approaching a man and informing him he had Covid-19.
“Officers attended and traced an 11-year-old boy on Station Road near Longforgan. The boy was spoken to about his conduct in front of his parents and warned about his behaviour.
“This type of conduct is completely unacceptable and I would like to take this opportunity to 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 will take robust action to find those responsible.”
The incident comes after a survey revealed girls are being groped and flashed on the streets during the lockdown period and are too afraid to venture out alone.
Around one in five girls said they have experienced harassment during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to a poll for the children’s charity Plan International.
More than a thousand girls and young women aged between 14 and 21 were surveyed online between April 9 and 20.
Around a fifth (190) said they have experienced harassment including being catcalled, followed, groped, flashed and upskirted.
Support the Tele today.
The Tele is Dundee Born and Read, and is committed to providing news to our communities. Right now that’s more important than ever, which is why our key content is free. You can chose to support us and access premium content by subscribing to the Evening Telegraph from just £5.99 a month.Subscribe