PCSO who rescued children nominated for commendation

An off-duty Durham Constabulary police community support officer (PCSO) who rescued two children he spotted by a motorway hard shoulder has been nominated for a commander’s commendation.

Jan 15, 2021
By Tony Thompson
PCSO Aaron Sparrow-Woods

Eagle-eyed officer Aaron Sparrow-Woods realised something wasn’t right when he saw a young child standing by a car parked on the hard shoulder of the A1(M) near Newton Aycliffe as he drove home from Ferryhill police station last year.

The officer pulled over and to his amazement found the distressed child’s grandfather face down on the grass verge – and a second young child was in the back of the vehicle.

The 65-year-old was too drunk to stand and PCSO Sparrow-Woods stayed with the children, aged five and three, until on-duty officers arrived.

The children were unharmed and collected by their father.

The man was arrested for drink-driving and child neglect after he was found to be nearly three times the legal limit.

After pleading guilty to the offences at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, the man was fined £1,000, banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.

PCSO Sparrow-Woods, who serves as part of the Ferryhill Neighbourhood Policing Team, has now been nominated for a commendation.

Durham Constabulary Inspector Mike Sammut, said: “Despite putting himself in danger by stopping on the hard shoulder, Aaron stayed with the children and reported the incident which ultimately led to the man’s arrest.

“More importantly, his actions prevented two young children coming to serious harm and it’s fair to say that without Aaron’s intervention that day things could have ended very differently.

“Following the man’s arrest, Aaron worked with the investigating officers for a further four hours to assist with the investigation.

“His actions were exemplary actions at the scene and his dedication afterwards show the very best of our officers who always go above and beyond to help protect the public.”

PCSO Sparrow-Woods added: “Sometimes you just have to follow your gut instinct and thankfully no one was injured – it could have been a far worse outcome.

“My on-duty colleagues and paramedics were quickly on the scene and I’m glad the children could be safeguarded.”

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