Off-duty police officer praised after spotting man brandishing Samurai sword on Jarrow street while on his way to McDonalds

An off-duty officer has been commended by his police boss after his swift actions led to a man being jailed for carrying a Samurai sword in public.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 4:14 am
A large police presence was seen in Jarrow after the alarm was raised about the incident by PCSO Liam Bell.
A large police presence was seen in Jarrow after the alarm was raised about the incident by PCSO Liam Bell.

Police Community Support Officer Liam Bell was a passenger in a car travelling through Jarrow when he spotted a man carrying the sword in a car park.

As his friend turned the vehicle around, PCSO Bell rang 999 and continued to monitor the man’s movements as he waited for police to arrive.

The armed offender walked towards St John’s Terrace and was seen acting suspiciously as he repeatedly put the sword down the waistband of his trousers and pulling it out again.

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Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt presents a Commander’s Compliment certificate to PCSO Liam Bell.

Now, after the man was jailed for more than eight months and the sword seized, Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt has presented the eagle-eyed PCSO with a Commander’s Compliment recognising his quick thinking and professionalism while off-duty.

“PCSO Bell should be very proud of his actions,” Ch Supt Pitt said.

“Although nobody was ultimately hurt in this incident, it is totally unacceptable to carry any weapon in public.

“When he drove past and caught a glimpse of the Samurai sword, PCSO Bell couldn’t be sure of the man’s intentions – so he absolutely did the right thing by contacting police and alerting officers.

Marc Brunton.

“He gave a clear description of the offender and directed trained firearms officers to a house where the man had entered – resulting in a swift arrest and ensuring no members of the public were hurt.

“It would have been very easy for PCSO Bell to ignore what he had seen or assume that he had been mistaken.

“However, he reacted quickly and calmly to ensure police detained a potentially dangerous offender and protected the public.

“Everyone at Southern Area Command thought it was important to showcase our thanks and reward his willingness to go above and beyond to protect the communities we serve.

The sword seized following the incident.

“As a result, PCSO Bell deserves this Commander’s Compliment and I’m sure the public will share in expressing my sincere gratitude to him.”

PCSO Bell, who has been in his current role for six months, was with a friend driving to McDonald’s after his attempt to make a home-made lasagne for tea failed.

But after seeing something did not look right, he acted upon instinct.

“I just did what anybody would have done,” PCSO Bell said.

PCSO Liam Bell with his commendation.

Armed officers descended on the Derby Street area of Jarrow on the evening of Tuesday, August 13, in response to the report of a man being in possession of a Samurai sword.

When they arrived, the man stepped outside the address and repeatedly ignored officers’ instructions, encouraging police to “shoot him”.

Marc Brunton, 28, of Burleigh Street, South Shields, was arrested and later charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

The next day he pleaded guilty to the offence at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and was jailed for 38 weeks.