Hero schoolboy, 12, helps police catch suspected drug dealer... in his rowing boat
Last updated at 2:33 PM on 24th November 2009
A schoolboy aged 12 has been hailed a hero after he used his rowing boat to help police arrest a fugitive drug dealer in a Boy's Own-style adventure.
Will Abbotts launched his dinghy when he saw the suspect dive into a lake beside his parents' home in a bid to escape police.
He picked up two officers from the bank before rowing them across the water to head off the fugitive.
Will today earned himself a police commendation from Chf Supt Mick Garrihy of Cheshire Police.
Hero: Will Abbotts, pictured with PC Mike Dawber and Insp Kate Woods, launched his dinghy when he saw the suspect dive into the waters
Hero: Will Abbotts, pictured with PC Mike Dawber and Insp Kate Woods from Cheshire Police, launched his dinghy when he saw the suspect dive into the waters
He said: 'Will's action contributed a great deal to a police operation against organised crime and saved the man from drowning.
'He did not wait to be asked but summed up the situation, stepped forward and offered to help. He showed speed of thought, bravery and calmness under pressure.'
Police had raided a luxury rented property three doors from Will's home on a millionaire's row in Mere, near Knutsford in Cheshire where locals include 'Mr Loophole' lawyer Nick Freeman.
Detectives had suspected the six-bedroom house was doubling as a cannabis farm and had sent 15 officers on a raid that uncovered 1,000 marijuana plants worth up to £500,000 a year.
One of the Vietnamese suspects surrendered but another man leaped from a balcony.
Although he fractured at least one of his legs in the fall, the 20-year-old slid into the lake and tried to swim away.
Will, who is in year eight at prestigious Manchester Grammar, had just got off the school bus when he saw police lights flashing.
Enlarge Manhunt: Police were raiding a cannabis farm at a neighbouring mansion when a fugitive escaped across the lake (file picture)
Manhunt: Police were raiding a cannabis farm at a neighbouring mansion when a fugitive escaped across the lake (file picture)
'I heard the police shouting towards the water and I saw a head bobbing up and down in the lake,' he said.
'The first thing I thought I was to get my boat and help the police get him.
'I was still in my school uniform but I knew the police had to get out on the water quickly so I shouted across that I had a boat. The police were happy to let me take them out on the waters and row out to him.
'I was shaking a bit because I didn't know what this suspect was capable of and it seemed like the boat was sinking.
'When we picked him up there were four people on the boat and it is only meant for two adults at most. We were very pleased to get back to shore.'
Both suspects were arrested and charged with cultivating cannabis and are awaiting trial.
Will has been rowing boats since he was four and uses it to fish for pike.
This is not the first time he helped keep the mere free of crime - the youngster has already called the police to report potential intruders.
'Occasionally there are people on the mere who are not supposed to be there,' he said.
'It just seems sensible to check the situation out and report it. I don't plan on becoming a police officer - I'd prefer to be a footballer like Cristiano Ronaldo.
'At first my classmates didn't believe me when I told them what happened, but once they saw the proof I got a lot of attention from the other students and from teachers.'
PC Mike Dawber, one of the arresting officers picked up by Will, said: 'Will's action was brilliant. Not only did he provide the boat, but also his expert rowing got us across the water very quickly.
'The man was well out into the lake but he was seriously injured and was obviously beginning to get into trouble.
'It was important that we reached him as soon as possible.'
Will's father, 63-year-old dental surgeon Gordon Abbotts said: I'm very proud of my son - for stepping in as he did. Everything he does, he seems to do well.
'The policemen in their riot gear would not have been able to swim after the man, so he would have probably drowned. However upset the man may be at getting caught, he's probably relieved to still be alive'.
'Will knows how to sail but although his mother is also very pleased she would have preferred he took the time to put on a life jacket.'
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