A YOUNG special constable praised by magistrates and the police for her bravery while being attacked on duty has spoken of her ordeal.

Nicola Veitch, 23, from Darwen, was on footpatrol in Sunnyhurst Wood with PCSO Stuart Knowles when she was attacked by Anthony Vickers, 53, a member of a drunken gang who ripped off her epaulets and tie and smashed her torch as others egged him on.

SPC Veitch, who works for the police as a project supervisor, said: “We were on foot patrol when we came across a group of people acting noisily and abusively.

“I was about to approach the man (Vickers) and ask him to amend his behaviour when he became agressive and took a swing at me.

"He ripped some of the items of my clothes off and shouted at me abusively. We called for back-up and they ran off.”

Vickers returned to the park 10 minutes later and SPC Veitch went to arrest him again. As he was handcuffed Vickers began to struggle violently and kicked PC Roger Morris three times.

SPC Veitch added: “It was scary and only the second time I had arrested someone.

"I’d been a special constable for about nine months.

“It was an automatic reaction to protect the other person I was with and training gives you the skills to deal with situations like that.

“It hasn’t put me off the job and I go in as often as I can.

"It was a shocking incident, but to recieve such praise for my actions is quite strange because I just did what anybody else would do.”

Vickers, of Bolton Road, Blackburn, was jailed for 12 weeks for the attack.

Sgt Jon Cisco of Darwen Neighbourhood Policing team said: “We are pleased that the courts have recognised the excellent work that the special constabulary do, in particular SPC Veitch.”