Heroic officer arrests four burglars
PC catches them in the act at ambulance station
A HEROIC Hillingdon police officer caught four burglars in the act and arrested them all by himself, with just one pair of handcuffs.
PC Andy Hine, of the Hillingdon burglary squad, was out on his patrols alone on Thursday May 19 when he noticed something amiss at the London Ambulance Service station, in Pinner Road, Northwood.
He said: “I saw some of the staff standing outside, which is not normal.
“I was flagged down by one of them, and he said he’d just called police because all the windows had been smashed and he thought that people might be inside.
“So I stopped immediately, got out the car and called on my radio for back up, as I was on my own.
“As I did that, seven males ran out of the building – they saw me at the front so they ran down the side alleyway.
“I ran after them and they ran behind the building to the far corner, where they were going to climb over the fence and out of the grounds.”
Being vastly outnumbered, the 49-year-old cop thought he’d try his luck at catching one of the burglars, and was successful.
He continued: “My thought was, I’m on my own, I’ll try and grab one of them.
“Because they could only climb over at one point and couldn’t climb together, I managed to grab one and handcuff him quickly. That gave me the opportunity to grab another one, all the while shouting: ‘Stop running’.
“Three of them managed to climb over the fence and I’d managed to stop two more, so I had four on the my side of the fence.
“I told them they’d make the whole situation worse if they tried to run off – bear in mind, we only have one set of handcuffs on us at any time, so I was only able to handcuff one of them.
“At any time, they could have run or they could have assaulted me.”
PC Hine called for other officers to come quickly as he was detaining four men, aged b between 17 and 20, and arrested them all for b burglary.
The detained burglars t turned out to be obedient considering there were four against one.
PC Hine said: “I told them to sit down and keep their hands out in front w where I could see them, and I said there would be t trouble if anybody m moved.
“I literally just kept shouting at them. They all did what they were told!
“Needless to say they were inside the building so they had committed a crime. I wasn’t going to let them get away.
“Detaining one of them was my plan, four was a bonus. Walking away from it uninjured was an even bigger bonus.
“When I was detaining the four, one of the other burglars actually came back, and from a distance, shouted: ‘Run! He’s on his own!
“I just said to them: ‘Try it’.”
Ten minutes later, colleagues joined PC Hine and all four were then handcuffed.
He describes the overall scenario as a ‘difficult’ situation as he wasn’t able to search any of the burglars, who could have been armed.
He said: “I was trying to watch all four closely. One, for any signs of escape, two, for weapons, and three, if they were trying to discard anything they had stolen.
“I had to be wary of what was going on, had to keep command of the situation and keep calm, in the knowledge that if they wanted to attack me, they could.”
Sadly, what the crooks did not realise, was that by breaking into an ambulance station, two ambulances were kept off the road for a few hours that day.
PC Hine said: “The building was no longer secure, and they can’t just leave the building, because there’s equipment that the ambulance service use.
“We also had to get details from the ambulance crew about what had happened prior to police arrival.
“The bigger consequences of these people allegedly breaking into the building is stopping our emergency colleagues potentially saving lives.”
The Uxbridge-based officer’s advice to burglars is simply not to bother in the first place, as the Hillingdon burglary squad will catch them eventually.
He added: “If only they could meet some of the victims of burglaries.
“They might realise the effect it has on people – it’s a horrible thing to be burgled and lose possessions that you’ve worked hard for, and these people should not feel that they have the right to break into people’s houses and take things and put suffering on people.
“People have sleepless nights after and some people never recover – that’s why I’m not going to let people run off in front of my eyes and do nothing.”
n SINGLE-HANDED: PC Andy Hine