A off-duty Sheffield police officer has been hailed a hero after chasing a crook – ending up wrestling in a river while being bitten.
Sergeant John Mallows was walking to work at Woodseats police station when he saw a man entering a jewellery store with a rucksack.
The 42-year-old, who joined South Yorkshire Police 14 years ago, said he recognised 24-year-old Michael Holmes and became suspicious when he spotted him producing jewellery from his bag.
Sgt Mallows, who was not in uniform, alerted colleagues at their nearby station to his suspicions, but Holmes left the shop before back-up arrived.
Sgt Mallows said he identified himself as a police officer and Holmes ran off into nearby woodland.
Sgt Mallows chased Holmes and ended up wrestling with him in a river in a bid to restrain him.
A member of public heard the sergeant’s cries for help, raised the alarm and helped overpower the suspect until more officers arrived on the scene to arrest him.
Checks revealed the jewellery had been stolen during a burglary at a house in Halfway, Sheffield.
Holmes, of Raseby Avenue, Waterthorpe, was remanded into custody.
He later appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court where he admitted handling stolen goods and assaulting a police officer.
Holmes was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Inspector Ian Stubbs, in charge of the Woodseats and Gleadless Valley neighbourhood team, praised Stg Mallows for going above and beyond the call of duty.
He said: “John took hold of the individual, who is known to be volatile, can be aggressive and is very anti-police, and a struggle ensued as he tried to detain him.
“Members of the public heard his shouts and came to his assistance.
“Officers attended the scene and located John in the woods still struggling with the offender.
“John displayed exemplary dedication and commitment to the job. He deserves recognition as during the struggle Holmes bit him.
“John also thought he had broken a rib, but even after all that, continued his duty.
“When I saw John he had a number of cuts to his face, was covered in mud and his trousers were soaking wet.
“This clearly shows an officer who shows professionalism to his role.”
Sgt Mallows said: “All the time in the wood and the river, while I was trying to restrain him, I was just waiting for the cavalry to arrive.
“We are never off duty, so I did what felt right.
“The important part of this for me is the teamwork that went into the case – investigating where the items he was carrying came from and reuniting them with their rightful owner to help give them closure.”
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