A QUICK-thinking ambulance crew who apprehended a burglar armed with a dangerous weapon have been praised for their actions.
Paramedic James Bingham and Emergency Medical Technician Steve Hutchinson were travelling to a 999 call in Cardiff when they encountered two men in a vicious tussle outside The Secret Shed Garden Centre in Rhiwbina.
On stopping the vehicle, they established that one man worked at the garden centre and the other was a burglar attempting to make off with cash.
James and Steve gave chase and detained the man, who was later found to be in possession of a knuckle duster.
James, a former RAF engineer, originally from Ivybridge, Devon, recalled: “We were on the way to an emergency call when we saw what we thought were two men fighting, literally in the middle of the road.
“We stopped the vehicle and shouted to the men, when it became apparent that one worked at the nearby garden centre and the other was a burglar who was trying to get away with cash.
“We jumped out of the vehicle and chased the man down an alley, eventually catching up to him and detaining him until police arrived.”
Following the incident on May 27, Ryan Rankmore, 35, from Whitchurch, was charged and convicted with possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and burglary.
On July 10, he was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court to 34 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.
All cash stolen from The Secret Shed Garden Centre was recovered and returned.
Yesterday the pair, who are based in Cowbridge, were awarded a commendation by the ambulance service’s Chief Executive Jason Killens.
James, a paramedic of three years, and who accepted Steve’s award on his behalf, said: “I think anyone in our situation would have done the same. We didn’t give it a thought at the time.
“I was just relieved that the knuckle duster wasn’t a knife or worse, because it could have been a different outcome.”
Jason said: “James and Steve’s actions went beyond the call of duty and showed incredible courage and tenacity in the face of danger.
“If they had not detained the man, who knows what unrest he’d have caused or who he’d have harmed with that weapon.
“It was my pleasure to present James and Steve with a commendation today. We’re very proud of them.”
Chief Superintendent Wendy Gunney of South Wales Police said: “James and Steve had the courage and tenacity to detain a dangerous individual.
“Were it not for their actions then it is likely that the offender would have got away and perhaps committed further crimes.
“Both men went above and beyond what would be expected of anyone outside the police force and they are reflective of how as individuals and communities, we look out for one another to keep Cardiff safe.
“Their actions were truly commendable – thank you.”
The High Sheriff of South Glamorgan, Andrew Howell, also attended the celebration to recognise the pair.