Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 16:14 UK

'How I saved Pc from Rangers mob'


CCTV footage of Rangers fans and Manchester police clashes

A former soldier has described how he dragged a police officer away from a mob of Rangers fans in Manchester.

Tom Bardsley said he feared Pc Mick Regan would not get away from the group, who were acting like a "pack of wolves who had not been fed for days".

Mr Bardsley, 23, dragged the officer along the street before throwing him in a police van around the corner.

The violent scenes followed Wednesday's Uefa Cup final between the Glasgow team and Zenit St Petersburg, who won 2-0.

Pc Regan's ordeal was captured by CCTV following the violence which started after Rangers lost the game.

He was pursued down the street in Manchester city centre by a mob of about 20 Rangers fans before being tripped and set upon.

Tom Bardsley and his mother, Karen
The adrenaline just kicked in
Tom Bardsley

On Saturday, Mr Bardsley described how he pushed a youth away before grabbing Pc Regan and pulling him down the street.

The father-of-one, from Openshaw, Greater Manchester had just left an internet cafe in Newton Street when the violence broke out.

He said he saw a man running towards Pc Regan "aiming a kick" and jumped into action.

Mr Bardsley, who served in the 26 Engineer Regiment at Bulworth Garrison, said he had served in a number of war zones but had witnessed nothing like the scenes in Manchester.

"I would describe it as wolves who had not been fed for days. I did not think of any danger to me just the safety of others and making sure everyone was getting out okay," he said.

"I knew that if no-one was going to get him (the officer) he wasn't going to make it. I thought 'sod it' I did not care that bottles and bricks were being thrown at me. The adrenaline just kicked in."

City 'like Basra'

But Mr Bardsley did not end his heroics there - a short time later he helped a water rescue team pull a Rangers fan from a canal.

And later, he pulled an unconscious man from the mass of rubbish left across the city, threw him over his shoulder and sprinted 150m to a nearby ambulance.

Finally, he chased away two men in Rangers shirts who were looting a police van.

Mr Bardsley said he did not think anything of his actions until the CCTV coverage of Pc Regan was splashed across news bulletins.

"The next day the city centre looked like a scene from Basra - like a bomb had hit it. I was angry that the Rangers fans had done this."

He went to Longsight Police Station, where Pc Regan was based, to check on his condition and was thanked by a police superintendent, but is yet to meet the officer again in person.

"My ambition is to work in either the ambulance service or the police force. The superintendent told me if I have ever applied in his area he would give me a job straight away," he said.

Wednesday's trouble first flared in Piccadilly Gardens after a technical fault with a big screen left up to 20,000 fans frustrated.

Riot police were sent in as violent clashes broke out along nearby Market Street, Oldham Street and Newton Street.

Manchester United's planned homecoming parade after next week's Champions League final has been cancelled, partly in response to the scenes of disorder.

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