A BALLOCH police sergeant has been awarded for his bravery for chasing down men armed with knives and a shotgun.

Sgt John Smith received the St Andrew’s Award having been recognised in the Brave@Heart Awards.

Along with DC Craig McGarry, Sgt Smith chased and apprehended two men carrying knives and a shotgun in a local shopping area.

DC McGarry also prevented one of the assailants hijacking a car.

While in plain clothes and on foot patrol both the officers became aware of screaming children running from a near-by house.

As they approached they were met by a large group of men and it was apparent there had been a significant disturbance.

The officers identified themselves and noticed that two of the group were carrying weapons - a very large knife and a meat cleaver.

The two men with knives each ran off pursued by each officer.

One of them was also carrying a single barrel sawn-off shotgun.

After two very long foot chases both men were arrested.

The awards noted: “There is no doubt these individuals presented a risk to the public and the officers themselves. The officers’ bravery is commendable.”

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More than 50 emergency service workers and members of the public were presented with Brave@Heart Awards recognising acts of bravery and heroism.

Speaking after presenting the awards at an event at Edinburgh Castle, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These awards recognise acts of true courage by members of the public, our emergency services and our voluntary rescue organisations. They are our way of saying a very big thank you to individuals who, through their bravery, have made a very positive difference to Scotland.

“Every single one of tonight’s award winners provides an extraordinary story of courage and calmness under pressure. Their spirit of selflessness and bravery is an inspiring example to us all.”

Chief Inspector Andy Thomson, member of the Brave@Heart 2019 validation panel, said: “The panel were unanimously agreed that the nominations were all of a very high standard demonstrating selfless acts of courage and in a number of situations exceptional acts of bravery.”

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