A MAN hauled before the courts for carrying a knife and drugs on Southend seafront earned high praise from a judge...for tackling a suspected gunman.

Samuel Watson, of Oakdene Road, Pitsea, was charged by police after he was caught carrying a lock knife and a small amount of amphetamine.

The discovery came after Watson had caught the police’s attention when he and another man were spotted tackling someone on Southend seafront back on June 9, 2020.

But Basildon Crown Court was told yesterday how Watson had actually been acting in the interests of public safety by tackling a man who was said to be carrying two fake firearms.

Watson, 37, was taken into custody following the incident and was caught in possession of a lock knife and drugs when he was searched by officers.

He went on to admit charges of possession of a knife blade and or sharp pointed article in a public place and possession of a controlled drug of class B.

But during sentencing this week, Watson was on the receiving end of high praise from Judge Shane Collery.

Judge Collery said: “It’s an unusual case and in many ways the public should be thanking him for his actions that day.

“I think you deserve that thanks, you didn’t know the guns were fake and you thought there was a real risk to the public.

“It was a brave thing to do.

“You and another man were going past on bikes and saw this man with the firearms and stopped and challenged. At the time, police saw that there was a tussle as you were trying to get the arms off him.”

The court was told Watson had been summoned to crown court because he had originally been charged with affray. However, the charge was dropped.

Watson was handed an absolute discharge for the knife possession and a £20 fine for carrying the drugs.

He was also ordered to pay a £34 victim surcharge.

Judge Collery added: “You should not have had the knife or drugs.

“It would have been really easy for you to ride away after seeing the man with the fake guns but you chose to get involved to help others because you thought people were at risk.”