A paramedic who tackled a wheelchair-bound gunman has been hailed a hero.

Garry Perkins was honoured for his bravery by a crown court judge after he and a colleague came face-to-face with the armed man during a routine call-out.

The drama unfolded as Mr Perkins and fellow paramedic John Akehurst were dispatched to a house in Brougham Road, Worthing, to a man who claimed to have fallen.

But when they arrived at the house the two paramedics found Ian Wilson, who has no legs, sitting in his wheelchair asking for morphine.

The 57-year-old told them he had run out of the drug which he said he needed to ease headaches.

But while Mr Perkins called the man’s GP, he noticed a gun on a radiator.

He said: “We both saw it and looked at each other, then the man produced a gun from down the side of his wheelchair and pointed it at John, smiling.

“He didn’t say a word, he just smiled. I thought we were were in big trouble.

“John froze and I shouted to him ‘run’ and then knew what I had to do.”

Mr Perkins wrestled the gun from the man’s grip and threw it across the room before running out after his colleague.

They called the police and armed officers arrested Wilson.

At Chichester Crown Court, Wilson was jailed for four years for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence for the incident, which happened on September 15, 2005.

In honour of his bravery, Mr Perkins was given a £400 reward from the court and nominated for a High Sheriff’s award. He said: “I was just doing my job, although it’s not part of my job to be held up at gunpoint.”

David Dixon, security specialist for South East Coast Ambulance Service, said: “This must have been a very frightening incident for Garry and his colleague, and we are pleased that the offender has received a custodial sentence.

“As a trust, we will not tolerate violence against our staff.

“We are committed to supporting our staff and to taking proactive measures to reduce the likelihood of them being assaulted.

“And if an assault or act of violence does occur, we liaise with the police and seek to prosecute the offender wherever possible.

“Our staff deserve to be able to serve their local communities in safety.”