National award for farmer’s brave actions which helped put paedophile behind bars

George Common, centre, receives his medal and certificate at the Police Public Bravery Awards.
George Common, centre, receives his medal and certificate at the Police Public Bravery Awards.

The actions of a Northumberland farmer that enabled officers to arrest a paedophile who was later jailed have been recognised at a national ceremony.

George Common received an accolade at the Police Public Bravery Awards in London on Tuesday night.

They were set-up by the National Police Chiefs Council so people could be nominated for risking their lives or safety to protect the public.

On the afternoon of Saturday, October 7, 2017, Mr Common was checking his land and livestock in Belsay when he noticed a car parked in a remote lay-by.

When the 60-year-old approached the car, he saw a man engaging in sexual activity with a naked teenage boy.

He confronted the man and tried to pull the young boy from the car. However, he was nearly knocked to the ground when the man attempted to drive off – and the man then rammed into his Land Rover three times before speeding off from the scene.

Mr Common was able to take down the car’s registration number and give officers descriptions of the man that proved critical to police identifying the suspect.

Louis Murray, 23, previously of Wilbury Place in Blakelaw, Newcastle, was later arrested and admitted a string of child sex offences.

He was then jailed for 10 years by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court in January this year.

Mr Common said: “When I saw the car parked up, I was conscious that something wasn’t right.

“Hearing all of the stories in the room at the awards ceremony – some of them sad and upsetting – made me feel privileged to have been invited.

“It was out of this world and I’ll never forget it. It was great to hear all about members of the community working with the police to be their eyes and ears.”

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen attended the awards to present medals and certificates to the accolade recipients from the force area.

He said: “It was a real honour and humbling experience to see such incredible acts of bravery formally recognised.

“In coming to the aid of people they didn’t even know, these selfless individuals showed no regard for their own safety.

“I want to publicly thank them for their heroics. I am extremely proud of each of them and we can consider ourselves very fortunate to have such remarkable people living and working here in the North East.”