Paramedic award after disarming man in Hailsham

Gary Criddle
Gary Criddle

A paramedic who disarmed a man in Hailsham after he pointed a gun at him has been awarded for his bravery.

Gary Criddle, a South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) paramedic, based at Hailsham Ambulance Station, was presented with the Association of Chief Police Officers National Bravery Award at a ceremony in Harrogate last week.

Gary was driving back to base in the early hours of the morning in June last year when he and his crewmate were stopped by a man who suddenly leapt in front of their ambulance.

When winding down the window to check what he wanted, the man suddenly produced a gun and pointed it at Gary.

They quickly drove to a safe position and put in a call to the police.

Gary said: “A regular part of our job is calming people down and persuading them, so I walked back to the man and did just that.

“Despite the man’s threats, fortunately, he calmed down and dropped the gun to the ground.”

The gun was found to be a replica.

Earlier in the year, the Express reported how Gary was nominated by SECAmb Senior Operations Manager James Pavey to receive a SECAmb Chief Executive’s Commendation which he collected in March.

Speaking back in January when Gary learnt of the first award, he said: “In the back of my mind, I thought there’s no way that’s a real gun, we’re in Hailsham, that doesn’t happen here.

“I was in the Army before I became a paramedic, so I know what guns look like, and as I got a bit closer to him, this one started to look really real.”

James said: “Gary acted selflessly and bravely when others, given the same circumstances, may not have done so, therefore upholding the very highest standards of public service.”

SECAmb Chief Executive Paul Sutton said the ambulance trust were ‘very proud’ that Gary had received the award.

He said: “Gary’s actions were extremely brave and well beyond what we would expect of him.

“He de-escalated the incident quickly and calmly and we are very proud that he has received such a high profile award.”

Chief Inspector Gary Pike, of Sussex Police, Wealden District, said: “We admire this example of the initiative and courage of our colleagues in other emergency services, with whom we are proud to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, helping to protect our communities.”