THEY were armed with only a flashlight and their wits on a freezing winter night.

But hero cops Anne Marshall and Jeremy Bates managed to beat the odds and save the life of a missing man.

The Ayr police officers have been honoured after scouring dozens of miles of South Ayrshire coastline for five hours in the January darkness.

The pair used out of the box techniques to try and gauge where the vulnerable person was — and old-school intuition led them straight to him.

PC Bates said: “We didn’t have a lot of information about where he could be and we were very concerned about his health. We started at Dunure and gradually worked our way up the coastline until we found him near Ayr.

“We were so relieved for his family. He was treated for hypothermia — we were just so glad to get him to safety.” The duo were alerted about his disappearance at 10pm when their shift started and found him at 3am.

PC Marshall said: “The family nightmare was over — they were so worried. We were so glad to find him when we did.

“We had nothing to go on, just our own hunches. It was absolutely freezing and raining heavily but we were still hopeful that we would find him.” The brave officers have received a Certificate of Recognition from Ayrshire Chief Superintendent Gillian MacDonald for going beyond the normal call of duty.