A milkman from Alconbury has been honoured for going above and beyond the call of duty to return a lost handbag to its owner.

John Cooper, who delivers his regular round in Stansted, Essex, found a handbag lying on the side of the road during his milk round, with its contents – including a passport and important documents - strewn across the road.

He quickly gathered the contents together and, despite not finding any working contact details, trawled through social media websites until he found someone locally who could locate the person in the passport photo.

He eventually traced the owner, Joy Allen, enabling him to return her possessions.

Mr Cooper, a milkman of 21 years, said: “The lady had left her bag in the car with the door unlocked and it had been taken, fortunately, her purse wasn’t in it but all these valuable documents were.”

The owner of the handbag, Ms Allen said: “I’m really grateful, it was a really wonderful thing John did. I’m pleased there are good characters like milkmen, looking out for their local community.”

Following his good deed, John was nominated for milk&more’s Milk Hero of the Month award.

A spokesman for milk&more said: “Every day, milkmen and women go above and beyond to help those in the community and this is what sets them apart from the usual home delivery services that have grown in popularity.”

Mr Cooper received a prize of £100 gift vouchers.