A BRAVE police officer has opened up for the first time after he single-handedly stopped an axe-wielding man covered in blood.

Sergeant Kevin Milby has relived the events of June 2017 after being named as the North West winner at the 24th national Police Bravery Awards on Thursday.

After being presented with his award by Prime Minister Theresa May, Sgt Milby revealed he physically restrained and handcuffed Timothy Nickson in a shop after he was found covered in blood wielding an axe.

He said: “I came across the man walking down the street with an axe still in his hand covered in blood.

“Initially I didn’t know what had happened who he’d attacked, where the blood was from, how many people were injured or what his motives were, whether he was going to attack someone else.

“My immediate thoughts were I need to stop this guy.

“He started to walk to one of the shops and attempted to go in and they’ve shut the door and forced the door shut - you can see they were terrified in their faces.

“So I’ve again shouted at him to put the axe down and he’s ignored me and he’s continued walking to one of the other shops at which I had to get out of my car to go into the shop after him and challenge him in there.

“I couldn’t see where he was when I entered the shop and he was stood in the doorway facing me.

“Straight away you think that he’s mentioned that he attacked someone with an axe and he may well turn on me.

“So I immediately sprayed him with pava gas and then I’ve just charged at him right down to the end of the shop using bodily force just to push him into the fridges at the end. Then I just wrestled him down to the floor and handcuffed him.”

Further investigation found that Nickson had, shortly before his arrest, forced his way inside an address and attacked a man with the axe, causing life-threatening injuries.

Nickson was jailed for seven years in November 2017.

“Throughout my career I’ve faced incidents like that and other serious incidents and fortunately I am able to detach myself from that,” said Sgt Milby. “I am aware that it can really affect some people, but I’ve been fairly fortunate that there was a positive outcome for myself and my colleagues."

Sergeant Kevin Milby was named as the North West winner at the 24th national Police Bravery Awards, hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales on Thursday.

Following the awards, which honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery, he also attend a reception hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Conner said: “Everyday officers put their lives on the line to protect the public, but this incident went above and beyond

“Kevin is a testament to the Force and I am honoured to serve with him.”