Mablethorpe and Alford PCSO set to receive top life-saving honour

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A Mablethorpe and Alford who talked a suicidal man out of burning himself to death is to receive a top national life-saving honour.

PCSO Barnaby Prince is set to be awarded a Royal Humane Society testimonial on parchment for his action during the horror incident in a layby at Alford on the evening of October 7 last year.

A report had been received that a man in a caravan in the layby had doused himself in petrol and was threatening to set himself alight.

Information on the wherabouts of the layby was sketchy but PCSO Prince knew the area and managed to locate it.

He was first on the scene and the man came out of the caravan covered in petrol and hugging a petrol can.

Police negotiators arrived at the scene but stayed back as PCSO Prince had gained the man’s trust and managed to persuade him to hand over his lighter and leave a can containing more petrol in the caravan.In addition to the award he is to receive, PCSO Prince has also won the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

Speaking at the society’s London headquarters as he announced the award, Mr Wilkinson said:“This was a dangerous scenario.

“If the man had carried out his threat PCSO Prince could have ended up being badly burned as well. But he stayed calm and managed to calm the man down and ultimately prevent what could have turned into an horrific incident. He fully deserves the award he is to receive.”

Recounting the events of that evening to The Leader, PCSO Prince, 27, said: “I was the first on the scene when police received a report of a man in a caravan in a layby threatening to set himself alight. I knew of the gentleman and a bit about his background.

“When I found him I was the first on the scene and I was on my own - I just stayed calm, started to talk to him and kept talking to him.

“I reminded him what was good in life and told him I would help him get the help he wanted/needed. It was quite a tense time, it felt like hours.

“I think he drank some petrol as well as covering himself in it. I made sure I stayed a few metres away just in case.

“I just talked to him and tried to keep him calm. I must have been talking for 20 minutes. I eventually got him to agree to handover the petrol can and once I had it, I said to him there was no need for the lighter anymore and I managed to get that off him too.

“It’s what policing is about – helping somebody who needs it. Thankfully it was a good outcome for all.”

Speaking about the award, he added: “It was a total surprise and I’m very grateful for the recognition - but I am just glad everyone is ok.”

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award, which has been made following a recommendation from Lincolnshire Police.