A TEENAGE soldier from Accrington has spoken of the moment he arrested an armed looter in Iraq.
Private Lawrence Callow, a former pupil of Moorhead High School, was patrolling the southern city of Basra when gunshots rang out close to a steel factory.
The 18-year-old, who is on his first operational tour with the 1st Battalion The Queen's Lancashire Regiment, dashed to the back of the factory, where he saw more than 30 thieves running away.
While his colleagues gave chase, Private Callow noticed one of the looters returning to the derelict factory and he followed him inside.
He said: "At that stage, I didn't realise that he was armed. But as soon as I saw the AK-47, I issued a challenge in Arabic and he dropped the weapon.
"It was nerve-wracking but my training just kicked in and I didn't think of the danger until afterwards."
Private Callow, who joined the Army in 2001, will stay in Iraq with his regiment until early November. He will then enjoy a short break before being posted to Cyprus for two years.
He added: "I have been in The Queen's Lancashires for two years now but this is my first time on operations. Working in Iraq is really exciting - it's exactly what I joined the Army to do."
The Queen's Lancashire Regiment, which is based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, has been responsible for security in Basra since January.
Soldiers are conducting security operations to help Iraq become a stable and self-governing state following the fall of Saddam Hussein.