AN off-duty police officer has received huge thanks after saving a shopper’s life after they suffered a heart attack.

Det Sgt Gav Morris worked alongside Sainsbury’s worker Holly Heather to save 61-year-old Ian Howard’s life.

The shopper from Sible Hedingham collapsed in Sainsbury’s in Braintree last month.

Det Sgt Morris was off duty and had popped into Sainsbury’s when a member of staff who knew he was a police officer asked if he could help.

He said: “He didn’t look very well and wasn’t saying a lot. Staff had managed to get him on the phone with his wife and he spoke to her briefly but within five minutes he’d passed out.

“I was talking to him, reassuring him, and asking where the pain was. Then he began to lose consciousness, although he was still breathing.

“Holly and I both got him on the floor. She started the first round of compressions, but it was easier for her to stay on the phone with the ambulance while I did the compressions.

“Ian came round quickly but then stopped breathing again and I did more compressions, and he came back round. That happened for a third time before the ambulance crew arrived and took over.”

Det Sgt Morris said he is glad Ian is now on the mend.

“I just thought at the time ‘I hope he gets to see his wife and I hope I get to meet him’," he said.

“I was constantly reassuring Ian and it worked because he says the only thing he remembers is me talking to him.

“It was lovely to see Ian and his wife again and to know he’s going to see a specialist now.

“It’s a very surreal feeling being thanked for something which you just do because you are trained to.

“We join the police to protect the public to preserve life and we do that whether we are on duty or not.”

After spending a couple of days in hospital, Mr Howard is slowly recovering.

He said: “I am so grateful, from the bottom of my heart, that Det Sgt Morris was there to help me.

“I found out later that without him and Holly, I would have died on that day.

“They did a wonderful job. I really can’t praise them enough.”