A Hailsham paramedic is set to receive a bravery award after he confronted a stranger brandishing a convincing replica gun in the street in June of last year.
Gary Criddle and his colleague Peter were on duty in the early hours of June 16, 2013 when they came across a man behaving oddly in the middle of the High Street.
Mr Criddle, of Tilehurst Drive, wound down his window to see if the man was okay, only for him to produce a gun from under his jacket – a gun that later turned out to be a well-made replica.
The pair drove down the road toward George Street and while Peter immediately phoned the police, Gary got out of the vehicle and began to walk towards the man.
Father-of-two Mr Criddle said, “As we parked up, I could see him in my window just talking to nobody.
“He was clearly either intoxicated or in a mental health crisis – he was in a right state.
“He was brandishing this gun and shouting at me to go away.
“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.
“It was pretty scary but I just carried on trying to talk him down.
“I told him if he didn’t put the gun down now, the police would turn up and they would have guns, then there would be consequences.
“Eventually he threw the gun to the ground and I picked it up – it was pretty weighty but it wasn’t until I opened the magazine that I saw there were no bullets in it and that it was actually a really good replica.
“My wife went ballistic when she found out, because she could well have lost her husband, but she calmed down and her and both my boys are pretty proud of me now.”
Gary, 50, will be presented with his Chief Ambulance Officer’s Bravery Commendation at an award ceremony in Maidstone, Kent, in March.