Essex

Policeman strips off to rescue boy from Southend sea

A "brave" policeman stripped off his uniform and plunged into the sea in Essex to rescue a 13-year-old boy who was struggling in the water.

The boy, from Middlesex, who has not been named, was on a day out with his step-mother in Southend when he got into trouble swimming.

PC Martin Knights, 46, and a colleague were on a routine patrol nearby when the boy was seen thrashing about.

The officer swam 200m (650ft) to rescue the teenager.

His actions were captured by CCTV operators at Southend Borough Council.

Image caption PC Knights swam about 200m (650ft) to rescue the boy

'Quick thinking'

Describing what happened on 1 August, PC Knights said: "I was on patrol with a special constable colleague when we saw the boy waving around in the water.

"I quickly stripped off, ran down the beach and into the water.

"The boy's stepmum was really grateful when I brought him back to shore.

"She hugged me afterwards. It's nice when we, the police, are appreciated for our work."

Sgt Ash Holland said: "I watched the whole incident on CCTV and have no doubt that, if it were not for the quick thinking and brave actions of Martin, then the boy may not be alive today.

"The force will look to formally recognise Martin's actions."

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