A POLICEMAN who had to deal with a massive pile-up on the A1 in North Yorkshire has been commended.

Sergeant Steve Hugill, of the Tadcaster road policing group, received his award for "acting with the highest levels of professionalism and protecting life" after 600 vehicles were caught up in a pile-up on the A1 last year. Sgt Hugill worked for several hours locating casualties and assessing their needs, while also securing evidence at the scene, near Boroughbridge.

The crash blocked three lanes of the busy motorway for six miles, and the wreckage left 1,000 people stranded and took 12 hours to clear.

North Yorkshire's Chief Constable, Della Cannings, yesterday presented Sgt Hugill with a certificate of appreciation. He was one of almost two dozen police officers and civilians who were recognised for outstanding work and long service at North Yorkshire Police headquarters, Newby Wiske, near Northallerton.

A youth worker who grabbed control of a speeding coach on the A64 near York after the driver collapsed was also commended. Claire Shanks was taking a party of sick children to Manchester Airport when the driver fell unconscious as the bus travelled at 70 mph.

Ms Shanks, from Middlesex, quickly reached over and took the wheel, while another passenger dragged the driver clear and brought the bus to a halt.

Det Con Deborah Wade was recognised for her investigation into a campaign of harassment, which included two arson attacks and hate mail, against a Scarborough resident. Through her "determination and use of technical equipment", a suspect was arrested and charged.

Nine officers received long service awards, including York staff member Suzan Frazer and police constables Richard Brown and Graham Morgan.

Det Con Hugh Carruthers, who has been involved in the Evening Press Ratcatcher campaign, Chief Insp Andy Hirst, Selby, and Det Sgt Stuart Thompson, Harrogate, received long service awards.

Updated: 09:43 Saturday, June 14, 2003