TWO brothers have been jailed for a terrifying knife attack on two police officers who had tried to stop and search them in West Bromwich town centre.

PCs Leon Mittoo and PC James Willetts were attacked in West Bromwich town centre on the morning of July 21 last year.

Today Parminder Hunjan and Maninder Hunjan, who were both found guilty of wounding with intent, were jailed for 10 years and eight years respectively.

They will each spend a further four years on licence at the end of their sentences, so could be recalled to prison at any time if they breach the terms of their release.

The PCs were on uniformed patrol in Queens Square Shopping Centre to reassure the public following violence in the town, with extra powers, known as Section 60 powers, granted at the time to carry out stop checks.

The brothers were first spotted outside Boots, carrying large black backpacks and wearing thick coats and gloves, which was unusual clothing during a heatwave in mid-July.

PC Willetts said: “It was 30-degree weather, it was the hottest day we’d had for a long time, everyone was enjoying themselves eating ice cream, in shorts and T-shirts, so it seemed really weird to be walking around in puffer coats and heavy backpacks.”

His colleague PC Mittoo decided to search the pair under the Section 60 order that was in place.

The brothers were joined by a woman, who had been inside Boots, and the trio headed towards New Square via an escalator when PC Mittoo sped up to a slow jog to catch up with them, asking them to stop.

They didn’t slow down and PC Willetts spotted his colleague flagging the trio so began approaching them, however the situation quickly escalated.

“One of the men ran towards me screaming brandishing something and swinging around erratically,” said PC Willetts.

It was Parminder, who then dropped his backpack on the floor and began rummaging through it before removing a long black object, which officers later confirmed was a knife.

PC Mittoo leapt into action, using his Parva spray to try and disarm Parminder, who dropped the object back into his bag. However, he got back up and began lunging at the officer with a knife in his hand.

PC Willetts added: “They continued to run towards us screaming, I could see Leon getting chased so I started heading towards him but then I suddenly felt a massive sharp pain in the back of my head and my helmet went flying onto the floor.”

Stourbridge News: Injured PC Willetts seen in bodycam footage captured on the day. Pic - West Midlands PoliceInjured PC Willetts seen in bodycam footage captured on the day. Pic - West Midlands Police

Maninder had slashed the officer with a knife, the wound was later glued at hospital.

A witness described seeing Maninder trying to stab PC Willetts to the head at least three times.

Despite bleeding from their wounds, both officers managed to remain calm and detain the brothers, and prevent any members of the public from injury.

PC Willetts added: ““We’re glad we stopped them and not someone else, like the security staff. They weren’t wearing the protective equipment we were.”

PC Mittoo suffered a slash wound to his forehead and hand, plus cuts and scratches. Security guards at the shopping centre and other officers at the scene ushered the public to safety and stepped in to help restrain the brothers, who continued to resist arrest.

PC Mittoo added: “Luckily we managed to overpower them, but it wasn’t easy and it was extremely frightening for the public as well. There were a lot of people there that day, the shopping centre was packed out. Considering the items we found on them, it was a very lucky escape. It was a miracle really that we only got minor injuries.”

The brothers were found in possession of identical rucksacks. They both contained a significant stash of weapons, including a machete, an imitation gun, balaclavas and large quantities of cash.

Stourbridge News: The weapons found in the backpack. Pic - West Midlands PoliceThe weapons found in the backpack. Pic - West Midlands Police

Parminder, aged 37, and Maninder, aged 26, were found guilty of wounding with intent, and possession of an imitation firearm at Wolverhampton Crown Court in March. They had also previously pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing offensive weapons.

The pair were sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court today (Monday May 9).

Chief Superintendent Ian Green, Sandwell Police commander, said: “It’s your worst nightmare, hearing your officers getting stabbed.

“This doesn’t just impact on them, they are sons, fathers etc, so this has a much wider impact on their families, friends and colleagues. I’m just really thankful they weren’t significantly injured.

“I’m incredibly proud of how brave they’ve been. They ran towards dangers and dealt with people with multiple weapons. Thankfully this doesn’t happen every day and isn’t a regular occurrence.

“We still don’t know why the attack occurred, we may never know the answer to that, what I do know is that our officers saved people’s lives that day.”

Police said both officers, who received counselling and support, did not consider quitting after the incident and Douglas Marshall, of the CPS, praised their bravery.

He said after the sentencing: ‘It is not clear why Parminder and Maninder Hunjan reacted with such ferocity when approached by the officers last summer, but what is apparent is that they were ready to resort to the use of knives at a moment’s notice.

“Regardless, the officers unhesitatingly put themselves in harm’s way and through their brave actions the pair were disarmed. PCs Mittoo and Willetts suffered relatively minor wounds as a result of their actions, but given the arsenal of weapons the brothers were carrying, the potential outcome could have been much worse.

“Today shows not only that carrying knives will not be condoned, but that violent acts against those whose job it is to protect the public will result in significant prison sentences.”