Honour for community heroes

Calderdale Police Divisional Awards Evening at The Shay'Chris Robinson, left, and Barry Godfrey
Calderdale Police Divisional Awards Evening at The Shay'Chris Robinson, left, and Barry Godfrey

THE bravery of Calderdale’s community heroes has been honoured by police.

Those given awards include two have-a-go heroes who helped corner a mugger who had just targeted a pensioner, two drivers who helped talk down a woman threatening to jump from North Bridge, a 27-year-old who protected a child being lewdly propositioned by a man on a bus and a resident who apprehended two off-road motorcyclists driving illegally on his land.

Mark Craven and Wayne Turner, both from Halifax, chased James Wilson after he grabbed a 78-year-old woman’s purse at Asda in Thrum Hall Lane, Halifax.

Mr Turner, 34, said: “Once I knew he’d mugged an elderly lady, I had to do something.”

“But I wouldn’t have realised there was anything wrong if I hadn’t seen Mark following him.”

Mr Craven, 49, was in his car waiting for his wife at the supermarket when he saw Wilson grab the purse and run off.

He drove after Wilson across the car park and when got to bollards, he shot out of his car and started chasing him on foot.

He had lost sight of hi when Mr Turner pulled up in his car. Realising who Mr Craven was following, he pointed in the direction he had seen Wilson go.

Together they continued to follow the robber, speaking to police on the phone so they knew where he was and what he was doing, until officers were able to find Wilson and arrest him.

Wilson, 34, of Moor End Road, Pellon, Halifax, was jailed for four years in March last year.

Their awards were given for quick-thinking and public spirited actions, with police saying the offender would have got away if it had not been for the men’s actions and team work.

Also receiving an award was Matthew Haughey, a 27-year-old from Brighouse, who stepped in when he heard a man propositioning a 12-year-old boy on a bus and making lewd comments to him in February 2009.

Mr Haughey made sure the boy could get off the bus but stopped the man from following him, despite receiving a tirade of verbal abuse.

“I was disgusted by what I saw and had to do something,” said Mr Haughey.

Barry Godfrey and Chris Robinson were commended along with PC Richard Thorp and PC Chantel Patrick for helping a woman who was threatening to jump from North Bridge in Halifax in June 2010.

Mr Godfrey, 65 and from Sowerby Bridge, and Mr Robinson, 24 and from Brighouse, saw the woman on the bridge as they were driving past, stopped and called 999.

Then, despite the busy traffic, they walked over to her and managed to keep her talking until the police arrived. Even when officers were there, they stayed to offer any help they could.

“We were worried,” said Mr Godfrey. “There were other cars just driving past her.”

And an award was given to Keith Midgley, from Ovenden in Halifax, after he apprehended two men illegally driving on his family’s land on off-road motorcycles.

He said he finds people driving on the land, in Denholme, a few times a year but usually he is able to warn them it is illegal.

This time, however, the pair made an abusive gesture and drove off. Mr Midgley, 52, gave chase on a quad bike, caught up with them and detained them both single-handedly at the visitor car park at Ogden Water until police arrived.

“If I’d been able to talk to them it would have been fine but they made a gesture at me and drove off,” he said. “It was like a red rag to a bull.”

Members of the public were given commendations alongside police officers and staff at Calderdale Police’s divisional awards evening.