A TOP cop was quick to tackle a suspected criminal who disrupted a football game he was refereeing.
Superintendent Paul Beddow was officiating Greatham versus Manor Old Boys in the Hartlepool Sunday League when two men sprinted across a pitch at The Rec, off the town’s Westbrooke Avenue.
They were being chased by police officers after a Fiat car was abandoned in Westbrooke Avenue following a short car pursuit.
But their getaway was foiled by Supt Beddow, 46, who grabbed one by his hood and forced him to the ground while players helped catch the other suspect at 11.30am yesterday.
Supt Beddow, of Durham Police, and who was previously a detective chief inspector in Hartlepool, said: “I heard the sirens and that alerted me straight away.
“The next thing I know, these two lads are running across the field and one of them ran across the pitch.
“I forgot about the game and grabbed him by the hood and managed to get him down and hold him before the police officers caught up and arrested him.
“It was just instinct really, it’s something I’ve done for years.”
Prior to the drama at the recreation ground, there had been a short car chase involving police between Jackson Street and Westbrooke Avenue after a car failed to stop for police.
Five men in their late teens and early 20s have been arrested in connection with the incident and were being held in police custody last night.
Supt Beddow, who lives in Hartlepool, said: “All the players were quite amused.
“They all thought the fact that he’d ran across the pitch was funny.
“He seemed quite young, but he can’t have been that quick if I caught him.
“Credit must go to the players for getting the other guy.”
The dad-of-two is well-known in local football circles after coaching Greatham Under-16s for a number of years.
Supt Beddow qualified as a referee last year.