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Deliberately coughing or threatening to cough on others to frighten them will not be considered "a harmless prank" by officers. 

Police Scotland are warning they will take "robust action" against individuals suggesting they are infected with COVID-19 before threatening to cough on elderly or vulnerable people. 

Individuals are warned that these incidents are extremely upsetting to victims. 

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Chief superintendent of the safer communities division David Duncan said: "These are difficult times, and we all need to look out for others, and do what we can to keep our communities as safe as possible.

"We've become aware of a number of incidents where people have suggested they are infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) and deliberately coughed, or threatened to cough, on elderly or vulnerable people.

"This is not a harmless prank - this is extremely upsetting to victims and cause fear and increased anxiety at an already stressful time."

Those caught threatening elderly or vulnerable people with such distasteful pranks could face robust action. 

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Chief superintendent David Duncan added: "We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and we will take robust action against anyone threatening other people this way."