A HERO North Yorkshire Police officer is hanging up his uniform for the last time after a long and distinguished career.

PC Richard Farrar - who made headlines and appeared on the BBC in 2015 when dramatic CCTV images emerged of him being assisted by a cage fighting judge while tackling a knife-carrying bike thief - left the force yesterday, and is standing down due to ill health.

He said: “Sadly, I will be retiring soon due to ill health, and unable to get to the end of my 30 years due to suffering with a type of multiple sclerosis over recent years, and unable to do the job I signed up to do anymore.

“From day one I was proud and passionate to put on the the uniform. On my final day I will be even prouder to put it on.”

PC Farrar joined the Met Police as a cadet in 1991, and trained in 1992, before working as a PC in Stoke Newington, Hackney, between 1993 and 1997.

In 1997, he joined the Territorial Support Group in North and East London, securing the capital from terrorism and dealing with violent disorder around the capital, and while there, lost a 25-year-old colleague - WPC Nina Mackay - who died after being stabbed on duty.

He said: “To receive that phone call in the early hours from a colleague to say that Nina had been fatally stabbed remains with you forever. She was only 25 years old.

“Ironically, 20 years after her tragic death, last November, I was awarded the NYP Public Award 2017 for Courage after a knife incident that I was involved in, in York. I dedicated my award to Nina in her memory.”

PC Farrar was assisted by a passing cage fighting judge during this incident in 2015.

PC Farrar transferred to North Yorkshire Police in 2001, and said he was initially taken aback by the difference between forces.

He said: “One of my first calls was to loose sheep in Wigginton Road near Nestle. Not a robbery or a murder, but loose livestock. Welcome to Heartbeat country!”

In 2004 PC Farrar was given a National Police Bravery Award at 10 Downing Street by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, after the investigation into a break-in at Clifton led to him being attacked by a man with a Medieval mace.

PC Farrar said: “I saw a shadow wielding what I thought was a bicycle chain over and around the top of his head shouting at me ‘I’m going to kill you’.

“I tackled him to the ground to only then realise it was a medieval spiked metal ball and chain mace that the burglar had stolen from above the fireplace on the wall. It would have killed me if that had made contact with my head - a lucky escape, I think.”

In 2004 PC Farrar was involved in the eight-day manhunt for murderer Mark Hobson, and located crucial evidence which helped in his conviction - including a ‘shopping list’ of items to conceal or dispose of the bodies, and a ‘hit list’ of potential victims.

Since August 2014, PC Farrar has worked with the York North Safer Neighbourhood Team, and in September 2015 he challenged a man who was trying to steal a bike in York city centre. A violent struggle ensued, with the two wrestling in a busy road junction, before - with the help of a passing professional cage fighting judge - the suspect was restrained. It was only after the event PC Farrar realised the bike thief had been carrying a 12-inch kitchen knife.

York Press: PC Rich Farrar with the knife he took from a man he detained at Bootham Bar assisted by member of the public  Andy Haigh.Pic : Nigel Holland (43769701)

PC Farrar and Andy Haigh with the knife recovered after the York incident.

He said: “This incident is a reminder of the risks that myself and police officers face in serving and protecting the public every day here in York, across the county and the country."

PC Farrar said the moment he closes his locker door for the last time “will be a difficult and emotional one”, and it will be strange to consider himself a member of the public he is so used to protecting, and offered his own words of advice to anyone beginning their policing career.

He said: “I recall having my photo taken beneath the statue of Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern British policing, at Hendon Police College on my passing out day back in 1992 believing that I had 30 years of policing to give ahead of me. I remember my father saying to me, ‘Enjoy it because your 30 years will fly by’. I didn’t believe it.

“If I can give any words of advice, just remember, enjoy it because it will fly by. It will, I promise you."