AN off-duty West Yorkshire Police officer who interrupted his weekly shop to arrest a dangerous knife-wielding robber has been nominated for The National Police Bravery Awards.

PC Neil Masheder’s actions – running towards danger despite not being in uniform or having protective equipment - will now see him join more than 90 colleagues from across England and Wales nominated for their courageous acts at the prestigious awards event in London.

The officer was shopping at a supermarket in the Leeds area on September 10, 2019, when he saw a stolen Seat Leon car in the car park.

The car had been taken during a burglary, along with cash, and had been used in two knifepoint robberies of a man and a convenience store in Kirklees. The suspects had also used the vehicle for another burglary in which they stole two more cars.

When PC Masheder saw the Seat was parked in a disabled bay with two occupants inside, he realised the suspects needed to brought in to prevent further harm to the public and he rang in the sighting to the control room.

As he did so, he spotted the driver returning to the vehicle and stayed on the call to keep officers abreast of the situation. However, the suspects then prepared to leave the supermarket car park, prompting PC Masheder to intervene.

Armed and dangerous, he knew they had to be taken off the streets, but as he was off-duty, he had no PPE or means to get them detained.

That didn’t stop the courageous officer from preventing the vehicle from leaving, and after a violent struggle, he managed to get the driver under control and under arrest, while his accomplices fled the scene. But they were soon found and arrested by attending officers.

The three were convicted at the conclusion of a nine-day trial at Leeds Crown Court in March but jumped the dock and escaped from the court building.

They were pursued by officers who had been at court, including PC Masheder, and all were quickly detained, with two of them having fled two miles away to the Hyde Park area.

The third defendant was arrested in a pub in Leeds city centre.

All three were charged with escaping lawful custody. They were jailed for a total of 52 years for all their crimes in May 2020.

West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth commended PC Masheder’s actions saying he prevented more members of the public being robbed and harmed.

“West Yorkshire Police officers are never off-duty and what an incredibly selfless and courageous act,” he said.

“These three violent and despicable criminals were playing a real-life game of Grand Theft Auto. They were armed and dangerous and had already robbed and threatened several people at knifepoint.

“If Neil hadn’t bravely intervened on his day off, they would have gone on to carry a lot more violent crime.

“It’s especially impressive given he had no PPE or means of detaining them apart from his determination and dedication.”

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “PC Neil Masheder demonstrated true bravery when he tackled a dangerous armed gang, whilst off duty and on his own. This has resulted in three highly dangerous individuals facing justice, receiving lengthy custodial sentences and keeping the public safe for a number of years."