Plucky Jim gets award for bravery

A PLUCKY pensioner who challenged an intruder threatening to stab him with a syringe is to be honoured with a top bravery award.

Jim Wallace, 87, calmly locked his front door and called police after the stranger was discovered hiding in his hall cupboard in September 2008.

The ex-Scots Guard soldier even tackled the unwanted visitor when he brandished hypodermic needles at him shortly before police arrived.

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Police later used CS spray to pacify the man, who it was claimed had been on the run after stealing a car previously that night.

Unknown to the trespasser, Jim and his wife Jean were already waiting for uniformed officers to attend their West Main Street, Blackburn home after a youth broke one of their windows earlier that evening.

"I was going to the bathroom last thing at night and noticed the cupboard door was ajar," said Mrs Wallace, 78.

"I opened the door and there was a man standing there. At first I thought it was my husband but then I realised it was a young man in his 20s."

For his bravery, Mr Wallace will now receive an award at the Lothian and Borders Police Meritorious Awards being held in Edinburgh tonight.

The couple initially believed the man when he said he was seeking refuge from a gang of knife-carrying thugs. But the atmosphere soon turned sour when he started threatening them with a clutch of needles

"He told us he was running away from a gang and I said 'Well you have come to the right place because the police are on their way'," explained Mrs Wallace. "We accepted what he was saying and told him to sit in the living room with us and wait for the police."

But unable to leave the locked property and becoming increasingly erratic, the man suddenly launched from his chair in the living room shouting: "I have needles. I will use these!" The elderly pair backed off but maintained their cool and began stalling for time until police arrived.

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"We kept him thinking we were going to get keys for him to let him out," said Jean.

"However, as it went on he tried to run away and even hid behind a curtain in the living room when he couldn't get out.

"My husband Jim got into a tussle with him but by then the police were outside and we opened the front door."

Undeterred, the man waved needles at officers who retaliated with CS spray. Police later found the couple's car keys concealed on his person.

Mrs Wallace, who talked to the Evening News on behalf of her partially deaf husband, added: "We do not scare off easily and didn't put much thought into what happened but did things automatically. Jim was very brave but perhaps also very silly!"

A police spokesman said: "Mr Wallace's level-headed actions in what must have been an extremely tense situation are to be commended, and we are delighted to present this award in recognition of them."


Among the other recipients of the Lothian and Borders Police Meritorious awards are:

David Morton, from Livingston, who came to the aid of a police officer set upon by a man in Whitburn.

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Edinburgh trio Stuart Rutherford, Daryl Smith and Robbie Clark are being honoured for saving the life of an elderly man who was trapped in a burn in Craigmount Brae.

Niddrie's Kelly Scoular risked her life to save her elderly neighbour following a gas explosion at her home.

Andrew Eastcroft, Joe Haddow and Sukhwinder Thind, all from Edinburgh, helped officers detain a man wielding a knife.

Andrew Ashton, from East Lothian, prevented a wheelie bin fire spreading to West Barns Primary School.

Jonathan Anderson single-handedly battled a blaze in a neighbour's Capital flat.