Police officers who tackled suspect in monkey and zebra onesies commended for bravery

The PCs were off-duty and on their way to a party in Coventry

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The Independent Online

Two off-duty police officers who pinned down a man shouting death threats while dressed in zebra and monkey onesies have been given awards.

PCs Tracy Griffin and Terri Cave earned their stripes while on a trip to the supermarket to get drinks and nibbles for a friend’s party in Coventry.

When they saw a man threatening female shoppers, they told a member of staff to call 999 before going to one of the women.

Knowing that the furry onesies offered little protection, they planned to keep an eye on the man before uniformed back-up arrived but when he became more aggressive they had to step in.

As the suspect chased a woman onto a bus threatening to kill her, they challenged him outside the Co-Op believing he had a weapon.

After chasing him over a busy road, they wrestled him to the ground and kept him there until officers arrived minutes later.

He was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of public order offences after the incident in March.

Still in their onesies, the officers had to miss their party to write up statements at a police station.

When their colleagues found out about the arrest, they tweeted from @SolihullPolice:  “Man threatening to kill people didn't expect to be wrestled to the ground by our off-duty officer in a zebra onesie. We go that extra mile.”

A photograph of them in their animal outfits went viral across the internet, attracting widespread acclaim, and the pair have now been formally commended.

The PCs' actions were described as “brave in the extreme” and “in accordance with the highest traditions of British policing”.

Tracy Griffin (left) and Terri Cave receiving their bravery commendations from Chief Constable Chris Sims

At a ceremony in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Tuesday they received a Chief Constable's Commendation from in front of family, friends and colleagues - dressed in their official police uniform.

Chief Superintendent Alex Murray, from Solihull Police, said: “There was a lot of interest in this particular case for obvious reasons but, joking apart, PCs Griffin and Cave were faced with a very dangerous man in difficult circumstances and they stepped up to the plate.

"Let's not lose focus on the risk they exposed themselves to, without any protection - in tackling this man.

"Whether they were in fancy dress or not - the fact is they chose to put a member of the public's safety above their own and then cancelled their night out to make sure a professional job was done."

Brian Eustace, 49, was later charged with public order offences and appeared before magistrates in Coventry in May, where he was handed a community order and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

Additional reporting by PA