To have and to hold . . . till the fire brigade us do part

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A POLICE handcuff expert and his fiancee had always been close but only

a team of firemen with a saw and bolt cutters prevented them from becoming


What started as a prank by friends after their stag and hen parties ended with the Hampshire Fire Service control room receiving the message 'bride and groom released from bondage'.

Ian Davison, 25, and Mandy Hillam, 23, a teacher, both from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, had been celebrating at separate parties in Portsmouth, where they will marry soon. They met up afterwards at the guest house where they were staying.

There friends bound the couple's hands and feet together with Army issue plastic handcuffs used to restrain prisoners of war. However, despite PC Davison's job involving his teaching trainees how to use handcuffs, nobody was able to get them off.

Eventually even the most merciless of the group agreed that staying so closely together would not do wonders for their married life. Firemen were called who, to the couple's horror, produced an axe before adopting a less drastic solution.

PC Davison said: 'Seeing as a lot of our friends are in the police I guessed what they might do and I thought I would go prepared with a pair of handcuff keys. But these were special plastic Army ones and once they are on, you can't get them off.

'They wouldn't budge and in the end we had to call the fire brigade to cut them off. I had the shock of my life when one of the firemen produced an axe, but luckily they managed to cut through them with a saw and some bolt cutters.

'It was very embarrassing but it was a good joke. There were four policemen, a doctor, a psychiatrist and an Army officer with us. It's a shame we didn't have a locksmith.

'What made it even more embarrassing is that I'm a police handcuff instructor. It's my job to train people how to use the new police handcuffs properly.'

Lt Guy Bartlett, who will be the couple's best man, said: 'It was a great evening. We thought the handcuffs were a nice touch.'