Gong for have-a-go hero

Ali Kurnaz at Meze, Bethel Street, Brighouse.
Ali Kurnaz at Meze, Bethel Street, Brighouse.

A Brighouse restaurant owner who chased down a mugger stealing a pensioner’s handbag has been praised by top police officials.

Ali Kurnaz of the Meze restaurant on Bethel Street was standing in the doorway of the restaurant and saw two men pull the handbag from a 79-year-old woman and dragged her along the floor in August 3, 2012.

It was at this point he and his friend Bryn Caffyn sprung into action.

“It made me really upset and angry what I saw they were doing and dragged the woman to the floor and they started running.

“I started shouting before they split up. It took a few seconds to decide whether to stay with her but Bryn said he would help her and I started chasing the boy.”

In his pursuit Mr Kunraz chased one of the suspects over the bridge of the canal and down by Sainsburys before he apprehended him with the help of the general public.

“When I was chasing him people were pointing and showing me where he had gone before I managed to catch him.

“I called the police and grabbed him by the hood and took him back over the bridge to apologise to the woman. There were people clapping from buildings and it was nice to see people reacting like that.”

The second suspect was also arrested a short time later hiding in the same area.

Mr Kurnaz was among those commended at the West Yorkshire Police event in Wakefield recognising the courageous and innovative actions of local people and police officers to tackle crime and improve their communities

Mark Gilmore, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, hosted the evening alongside Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson at the Calder Park site of the Regional Scientific Support facility.

Throughout the event tales of courage, heroism and people going above and beyond their civic and professional duty were heard.

Mr Kurnaz was unable to attend the ceremony but said it was a surprise to be nominated by the police officers and to be recognised at the awards.

“Hopefully it will encourage people to do these things and help other people.

“It’s nice to know something you have done is recognised as I didn’t expect anything back.

“There are good people about and who care about what happens to other people.”

Detective Inspector John Priestley, of Halifax CID, said: “Mr Kurnaz’s public-spirited, selfless actions directly led to the arrest of two suspects for a crime against a vulnerable and elderly woman and greatly assisted the investigation by detectives in Halifax CID. We are pleased that he has received the recognition he deserves for his courageous actions.”