A HAPLESS thug who attacked six police officers during a violent foot chase has been jailed for 18 months.

Luke Harding assaulted the officers as he was being arrested near the Kursaal steps, in Southend.

As police approached to arrest him on suspicion of a separate offence, the 32-year-old took off.

While being chased, he threw a bottle of drink over one police officer before tripping over his own foot.

As he was being restrained on the ground, he then hit out at the officers with kicks, punches, scratches and a headbutt.

One officer was bitten during the altercation.

When jobless Harding arrived at Southend police station, he then used vile racist words to describe two of the officers.

Harding, who already has an “appalling” criminal record of 18 convictions for 20 offences, appeared at court via video link yesterday to admit six counts of assaulting an emergency worker, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of racially aggravated harassment, all on April 4.

Handing him 18 months in jail, Judge Samantha Cohen said: “This all happened while the country was subjected to a coronavirus pandemic which was being spread by hand.

“You were verbally abused to police in a public place.”

Judge Cohen said she believed each arresting officer has acted in a way which was to protect Harding and added: “Your response was to give a false name and [abuse them].

“You told them: ‘Get your Tasers out’ and ran through a public corridor in a large block of flats.

“And when they were arresting you - probably for the crowds watching - you shouted that they were raping you.”

Judge Cohen said when Harding, of Kursaal Way, in Southend, was taken to the police station, his “vile, violent and racist temperament” surfaced as he launched a racist tirade at two officers, one of whom is of Chinese heritage and one of whom is black.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the second officer said: “I have been a constable for for two and a half years and assaulted on many occasions but can comfortably say this is by far the worst incident I have been victim to. It was entirely unprovoked.”

He also labelled the racist insult as “particularly vile language” and “highly offensive”.

The court heard Harding, who interrupted the hearing a number of times yesterday using foul language, was “ashamed” of his behaviour and is now seeking mental health help in prison.

He was jailed for a total of 18 months for all counts.