Dog handler PC Dan Thomas and his canine sidekick PD Gil were among a group of officers in the early hours of this morning to reports of two men trying to steal a motorbike.
Response cops arrested a 16-year-old lad in the street while Dan and Gil began tracking another suspect who was seen darting into gardens towards a school playing field.
German shepherd Gil indicated their target had clambered over an 8ft high spiked fence – but as Dan lifted the dog over and jumped down, his jacket snagged and sent a spike tearing into his bicep.
Despite the wound – that later required 15 stitches – and with blood pouring down his arm Dan continued tracking with Gil and shortly after found a 22-year-old man hiding in bushes.
He was arrested on suspicion of attempted vehicle theft, along with the teenager, but moments later Dan collapsed due to the significant blood loss.
Police colleagues applied first aid before paramedics arrived on the scene and he was transferred to Good Hope Hospital for surgery.
Dan, who is now recovering at home, said: “I was tracking alone with Gil but the officers quickly found me and applied a tourniquet to prevent further blood loss.
“And I also want to thank the paramedics and doctors at the hospital for all their brilliant work – they said I was lucky and that with such a serious wound I could have suffered a very serious arterial bleed.”
West Midlands Police Force Incident Manager, Chief Inspector Jack Hadley, described PC Thomas’ actions as heroic adding that he was “truly humbled” by his tenacity and dedication.
But modest Dan was keen to heap praise on his four-legged crime-fighting companion Gil after the incident in Springfield Road, Walmley.
HDan said: “He is a phenomenal partner and I’m very proud to work with him. I knew Gil was onto the suspect. I could see the blood pouring down my arm but was determined we had to keep on the scent and catch him.
“It was a good result in the end with two in custody – and we also recovered a stolen car that we believe the offenders arrived in.
“I’ve read a lot of kind words of support from members of the public – it’s very heart-warming and I really do appreciate all their best wishes. I hope to be back on duty in the near future."
Dan – who has served with West Midlands Police for 16 years – was runner-up in Crufts’ Friends for Life Competition in 2013 having been nominated for his work with former police dog Janus in collaring 100s of crime suspects during his career.
He gave his £750 prize money to Medical Detection Dogs – a charity that trains dogs to recognise the scent of cancer and medical emergencies.