FOUR police officers who brought two people back from the brink of death have received national recognition.

The Durham Police constables will receive the life-saving certificates for their efforts which saw one pair resuscitate a man who had been assaulted in Willington, near Crook, and the other revive a man who tried to kill himself in Stanley.

In the first incident, on the evening of October 15 last year, PCs Michael Hall, 41, and Ellis Hutchinson, 47, were called to The Queen’s Head, in Willington, after reports of an assault.

The officers found a 28-year-old local man lying unconscious on the ground, having been punched in the head. An ambulance was called, but they soon realised he needed urgent treatment and began to drive him to hospital themselves.

However, during the journey he stopped breathing and they had to get him out of the car and carry out resuscitation by the roadside until paramedics arrived. He went on to recover in hospital.

In the second incident, on the evening of October 18 last year, PCs Stephen Kirby, 40, and Simon Warriner, 34, went to a house in Stanley after a woman called to say her estranged husband intended to commit suicide.

When they arrived the man was still breathing but then stopped and they began administering CPR and managed to restore his breathing before taking him to hospital. All four officers, who were recommended by Durham Police, have been awarded Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates.

Royal Humane Society secretary, Dick Wilkinson, said: “Thanks to the swift action of these officers two people are alive who would almost certainly have died. Rapid treatment is essential in cases such as these where a person has stopped breathing.”

PC Hutchinson has previously received a similar accolade, and in 2004 was praised for his actions in saving a woman in her mid-40s the previous year who had overdosed on drink and drugs in a bid to kill herself.

While on patrol near Stanhope in December, 2003, he found the woman unconscious inside a vehicle and placed her in the recovery position - monitoring her breathing and keeping her warm until an ambulance arrived.