Police officers who were attacked and doused in petrol while making an arrest have been recognised for their bravery.

The officers were originally called to an address in Basildon to arrest a man who had been seen driving the wrong way down major roads in the town on a stolen moped.

The suspect was known to be a prolific offender.

When the officers arrived at the address in Basildon, they tried to arrest the man.

PC Mark Thomas assessed the threat and risk, and red-dotted the man with his taser to ensure he was safely detained.

The man laid on the floor and the officers moved in to handcuff him.

Echo: Aeriel - police helicopter footage captured the incidentAeriel - police helicopter footage captured the incident

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However, a hostile crowd of more than 30 onlookers had gathered and while the man was being detained his mother emerged from the crowd with a hammer in her hand.

She threatened officers as she ran towards them, was swiftly disarmed and detained while other officers restrained the man.

Minutes later a large man, later identified as a member of the suspect’s family, ran at officers from an alleyway.

He assaulted an officer by rugby-tackling him to the ground and pinning him beneath the front bumper of a vehicle.

He punched the officer in the body and head.

Two officers restrained the man by pushing back the gathering crowd and creating a safe area for other officers to take hold of his arms and legs, while another pulled the assaulted colleague from beneath the vehicle.


Jackson doused the officers in petrol

The team were then assaulted by a second man, Justin Jackson, who was holding a watering can full of petrol.

He doused the officers in fuel as the crowd taunted the officers by smoking cigarettes.

Now soaked in petrol and despite the risks to their own safety, the officers continued to restrain the subjects to ensure their arrest.

The petrol had been dispersed with such force that two of the officers swallowed petrol, resulting in them being hospitalised, two needed medical attention to their eyes and others suffered superficial burns.

The fire service attended and soaked officers repeatedly for 30 minutes to prevent more permanent injuries.

Justin Jackson admitted eight counts of administering a noxious substance with intent to cause injury and was jailed for three years and nine months at Basildon Crown Court.

Meanwhile, Jackson's mother was given a suspended nine-month prison sentence after being found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

Echo: Jailed - Justin Jackson Jailed - Justin Jackson

Chief Insp Jonathan Baldwin, PC Mark Thomas, PC Megan Rees, PC Andrew Bird, PC Zhak Burrows, PC Matthew Cutts, PC Stephen Gunshon, PC Jamie Richards, PC David Ford and PC Rory Leff are being recognised at the Essex Police Federation Bravery Awards' second annual event for their courage as they came under attack.

Chief Insp Baldwin said: "At the time of the incident while being covered with petrol, I remember thinking, 'We could all go up in flames here like Roman candles'.

"It was one of those days I realised I might not have got home at all."

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PC Burrows described the terrifying ordeal: “I had petrol in my eyes and over my face and I was immediately blinded. To start with, I thought it was acid.

"The crowd was cheering and shouting, ‘Light them up.’

"I couldn’t see and all I could hear was screaming and officers shouting ‘Petrol’ and ‘No Taser!’ One spark and we would all have had life-changing injuries.

"I cannot describe the fear of death."

Essex Police Federation Chair Laura Heggie said: “This was a despicable, sustained attack on our Essex Police colleagues whilst dealing with criminals in our county.

“The officers retained their composure under the most horrendous pressure, maintaining excellent communication with each other and supporting injured and assaulted colleagues.

“They were soaked in petrol but continued to demonstrate true professionalism and commitment in the most unpredictable of scenarios.

“This incident not only attracted National news but was so outrageous it later featured on the BBC1 programme Critical Incident.

 “I commend them for their bravery and dedication to duty in the face of grave personal danger.”

The ten officers will attend the Essex Police Federation Bravery Awards on May 26 where an overall winner will be announced.