Chief Constable Jason Hogg of  Thames Valley Police commended four officers at a ceremony for their proactive operations in Milton Keynes.

Sergeants Thomas Neilson and Chris Smith, PC Joseph Swan and Detective Constable Serena Bellis received praise for their successful intervention of serious violence after locating and apprehending armed males in a motor vehicle, following a robbery.

Sgt Neilson said: "To remove a viable firearm from the street and prevent this offender from committing an act of serious violence and keeping our communities safe is testament to neighbourhood police officers knowing their area and a proactive approach to problem solving.

"The subsequent investigation from DC Bellis and securing a custodial sentence so quickly is another fantastic example of the work our CID colleagues undertake."

The operation dates back to November 20 last year, where the South Milton Keynes Neighbourhood Policing Team conducted visible and non-visible patrols in the Westcroft estate, following a violent robbery involving armed suspects in two small silver vehicles.

While Sgt Neilson and PC Smith conducted patrols in a marked police car, PC Swan was deployed in a plain vehicle for disruption.

The officers were familiar with the area and selected locations with the best vantage points to monitor the estate's entry and exit points.

Upon spotting two silver vehicles, filled with suspect males driving rather suspiciously on Cranbourne Avenue, PC Swan raised the alarm.

Sgt Neilson and Smith then intercepted and searched the vehicles along with the occupants.

The search yielded two knives and some amount of cannabis. The suspects were arrested and taken into custody.

Further investigation revealed that one of the arrested men had a firearm and ammunition.

DC Bellis assumed the charge of the investigation.

Her tenacity, diligence and detailed case led to the offender being charged and remanded in custody.

In a little over two months, the offender pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a five-year imprisonment term for possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Sgt Smith said: "I am incredibly proud to receive this award on behalf of the South Milton Keynes Neighbourhood Policing team.

"It is through the team’s dedication to serving our communities and keeping our streets safe that results like this are possible."

PC Swan added: "I feel privileged to be recognised for good operational policing; it isn't every day that you recover a firearm off the streets!"