An elderly woman who confronted a gang of youths jumping into the sea was deliberately coughed on by one who told her he had given her coronavirus.

Coastguards called the behaviour "unacceptable" as it revealed details of the incident near Brixham on its social media page.

I’m sure any parent would be mortified if they knew their child had committed what is now classed as an assault on this innocent woman.

Berry Head Coastguard
The view from Berry Head.

Berry Head Coastguard said they were called to the scene on Monday (June 1) while on safety patrols, following reports of around 20 tombstoners in Berry Head quarry.

As they arrived they were met by the elderly woman, who recounted the confrontation. They immediately rang police for back up.

They said: "We were flagged down by an elderly lady who had spoken to the youths while she was walking in the quarry.

"One of the youths, with distinctive blonde hair, had taken exception and approached the woman before coughing in her face saying: ‘You’ve got coronavirus now’."

The group were jumping from Berry Head quarry. Credit: Devon Live

The team found the tombstoners, who were "jumping from a pinnacle in the quarry that is 40 to 50-foot drop into the sea".

The team attempted to engage with the group, but said they "weren't having any of it".

Once police arrived it was deemed access was too difficult to reach the group.

I’m sure any parent would be mortified if they knew their child had committed what is now classed as an assault on this innocent woman. Equally we’re sure many parents would he horrified if they could see the cliffs their kids are jumping off.

Berry Head Coastguard

The incident has sparked renewed calls for the quarry area below Berry Head to be closed off.

Archive shot of a tombstoner.