A heroic police officer risked his life by running into a blazing building and saving 15 people in Ilford.

Matt Hill was the first to arrive on the scene and quickly realised people were trapped in the large grocer's shop.

With the help of two passers-by, he managed to get the trapped customers and staff out of the building through a rear exit.

Hill said: "It was incredible how quickly the flames engulfed the building. But with the help of two members of the public who followed me up the stairs, we managed to get everyone to safety and without injury.

"When I arrived on scene and realised that people were trapped, my instincts took over. The priority was to get everyone out as quickly as possible."

Police are treating the fire as suspicious.

Inspector Paul Vear of the Metropolitan Police commended Hill's bravery. He said: "I am quite sure that the actions of PC Hill and the two members of the public saved lives. They went into a blazing, smoke-filled building with the sole purpose of helping those trapped."

Chief Superintendent Sue Williams said: "I am proud of the actions of PC Hill. Police officers carry out acts of bravery every day, but this was not an everyday occurrence."

Police investigating the fire are appealing for anyone with information to contact Ilford CID on 020 8345 2733 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.