A heartless burglar swiped two charity boxes then repeatedly spat around the interior of a police car interior when arrested.
David Power, of no fixed abode but living in Kirkby when he appeared at magistrates court in February.
A Cheshire police spokesman said the 37-year-old broke into Appleton Village Pharmacy in Widnes overnight on Thursday, February 27, and caused around £2,500 worth of damage before making off with the charity boxes.
CCTV enabled investigators to identify Power as the culprit and on Saturday, February 29, an officer was driving in Widnes and spotted Power.
The burglar was seen putting something in a bin before his arrest.
A "Stanley knife" was later found on top of the rubbish, police said.
En route to custody, Power became aggressive and abusive "continually" spat inside the police car.
He also kicked out at a police officer in custody.
Power was charged with burglary, assaulting an emergency service worker and causing criminal damage to a police vehicle.
He admitted those offences but pleaded not guilty to possessing a bladed article in a public place in relation to the knife in the bin.
Power also pleaded not guilty to a second burglary charge, in relation to an incident at Halton Gas on Deacon Road in Widnes overnight on Friday, February 28.
A window was smashed and the premises were ransacked during the incident but it is not known if anything was stolen.
Those charges were ordered to lay on file as he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday.
Appearing via a video link, he was jailed for two years and four months.
A Widnes CID spokesman said: "All forms of burglary are serious offences, but what makes David Power’s actions overnight on Thursday, February 27, particularly despicable is that he targeted a pharmacy and stole a quantity of cash that he knew had been collected for charity.
"He then assaulted an officer and spat in a police car on several occasions after being arrested for the offence.
"The nature of policing inevitably requires officers to deal with violent and challenging situations but, regardless of the situation, being assaulted by a member of the public we serve should never be seen as an acceptable ‘part of the job’.
"An assault of a police officer, or any other emergency service worker, is an attack on society itself.
"When officers are taken off the streets through being injured by members of the public it can have an impact on the level of service we can provide.
"The same goes for when police cars are not able to be used through the actions of members of the public.
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"Due to Power continually spitting in the police car he was taken to custody in, the vehicle had to be cleaned at the force’s expense and was off the road for a period of time.
"I am delighted that Power is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions and I hope that this case deters others from committing similar offences."
Power was also ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge.