LIFE-saving police officers who rescued a badly beaten kidnap victim from the back of a car have been recognised for their heroic actions.

Sgt Al Kelly and Temporary Sgt Tom Matthews were called to deal with the incident in Grays after a 999 call had been made, claiming a man had been assaulted and shoved into a white Audi.

The duo were able track down the address where the vehicle was registered after a member of the public wrote down its registration plate.

When the officers arrived at the address they found the victim inside another car which had its engine running.

They were able to block the car’s escape routes before approaching and opening the rear door where they found the kidnap victim badly beaten and sat between two men.

As the victim climbed out, one of the suspects tried to escape but was tasered by Sgt Kelly.

Further police back-up arrived and three men were arrested, one of which was searched and found carrying CS spray.

Detectives later found a text on the victim’s phone revealing the kidnapper’s plans to kill him.

Despite several facial injuries and receiving a punctured lung, the victim made a full recovery.

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A police investigation eventually saw four men charged and convicted. Billy Jackson, Anthony Siequien, Mason Stewart and Jake Constable were sentenced to almost 30 years in prison for kidnapping the man and trying to get money in exchange for his safe release.

Sgts Kelly and Matthews have both been awarded the Essex Police Federation Bravery Award for their life-saving actions in August last year.

Sgt Matthews said: “I think if we hadn’t seen that car when we did, he’d have been even more seriously injured if not killed.”

Essex Police Federation Chair Laura Heggie added: “This was a horrific incident that could have turned into a tragic one.

“Al and Tom had no idea what they were facing when they approached the car.

But in the finest traditions of the police service they went towards that danger to save a life and catch the bad guys.

“They did both… this sort of bravery really is awe-inspiring police work.”

Sgts Matthews and Kelly will attend a ceremony next week along with other officers who have won bravery awards and an overall winner will be crowned.