Heroic Sussex police sergeant and dog are commended highly

Sergeant Jackson with police dog Sparky
Sergeant Jackson with police dog Sparky

A Sussex Police sergeant and his dog have been commended for their heroic capture of a suspected burglar from Shoreham.

Sergeant Gareth Jackson and Police Dog Sparky were presented with the highest commendation awarded by the force, the Chief Constable’s Commendation, at an award ceremony which recognised some 20 officers from the Sussex and Surrey forces.

Sgt Jackson said: “The arrest of this offender would not have been possible without the actions of my police dog and it demonstrates the real contribution that police dogs can make in apprehending criminals.”

A force spokesman said Sgt Jackson and Sparky were the first to arrive at a flat in Brighton where a burglary had been reported to police, early on November 29 last year.

They were warned that the suspect could have a gun, according to police.

Ignoring Sgt Jackson’s request to stay where he was, the suspect jumped out of the window and bolted from the area, with Sparky in pursuit, said the spokesman.

Finding himself cornered between some cars, Sparky barked at the suspect until Sgt Jackson caught up and tried to arrest him, the spokesman said, adding the man put up a violent struggle, punching Sgt Jackson and kicking Sparky before running away again.

He added the chase continued until Sparky managed to catch the suspect by biting his leg. When the man kicked Sparky in the head, the dog bit down harder and Sgt Jackson was able to make the arrest – Sparky was unharmed.

The offender, William Piper, 23, unemployed, of Wilmot Road, Shoreham, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, possession of an offensive weapon – a knife – and possession of class A and B drugs, at Lewes Crown Court on December 23. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 29, a statement from the force said.

Chief Superintendent Chris Moon said: “This was a very violent situation, exacerbated by the concern the suspect had a gun. Sgt Jackson acted selflessly and courageously with the knowledge that, if the man escaped, he could pose a significant danger to the public.

“His actions and those of PD Sparky, who was being kicked in the head at the time, should be commended. Thankfully they are both ok.”