OFFICERS who led a covert pursuit of a suspect they believed was carrying a machine gun were praised and commended for their courage.
PC's Frank Lilywight and Christopher Troughton were on patrol in Hayes when they spotted a suspect in camouflage gear passing a package through a car window to another, and on closer inspection spied what they thought to be an MP5 machine gun.
They alerted senior officers, and covertly followed the car at, so not to arouse suspicion, ducking behind traffic and speeding up and slowing down, often circling numerous times at roundabouts to maintain a safe distance while giving a running commentary and continued onto the M1 where the suspects were picked up by specialist units.
It turned out the suspects were in possession of a legal replica gun, but their bravery and actions were praised, and footage of the operation was featured on television show Sky Cops.
PC Lilywight said: "It could have been anything, alarm bells immediately went off in my head when I saw the gun, it isn't something you often see in Hillingdon.
"We hadn't been trained in following covertly so we had to learn on the job, it means a lot to be recognised for our work."
The officers were two of many, including members of the public, who received commendations from Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Carl Bussey at a special ceremony at GlaxiSmithKline, Stockley Park, yesterday (Monday).
He said: "I'm always particularly impressed by members of the public at these awards, and there are some great stories here. The community are our bloodline and community intelligence is what we rely on.
"All the recipients are extremely deserving, I have been amazed by their actions."
Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London and Hillingdon Councillor, who attended the ceremony, said: "These awards demonstrate that Hillingdon is not the leafy place where nothing happens, the evil side of life happens, and the police officers are to be congratulated in their efforts to make it a safer place."
For the full list of award receipients see the Gazette on sale tomorrow (Wednesday).
For a gallery of pictures click here