Calne PCSO Mark Cook has received a police award after his quick-thinking led to the arrest of a 61-year-old man suspected of sexually abusing a three-year-old.

The 42-year-old was awarded a local commander’s certificate of merit on January 28, after he helped to direct a police search and identify the suspect who has now been remanded in custody.

He was on duty on October 2 last year, when a report came in of a man sexually abusing a young girl. He was the first on the scene, with an officer from Chippenham.

His work led to a speedy arrest, which meant valuable forensic evidence could be collected.

PCSO Cook said: “A description of the male was given, which suggested it could be a male I was aware of. The Chippenham officer went to the lady that had reported it and I made my way to the home address of this gentleman.

“No-one was there, so I spoke to a neighbour and he gave me access to climb up the fire exit at the back, to see if he was hiding.

"When another officer said they had located the male, I made my way to the location and gave a positive identification.

“You get to know people in the town through local intelligence. That’s what the role of a PCSO is, to get to know your community.”

PCSO Cook grew up in Calne, attended John Bentley School and has worked at the police station for eight years. Before that, he was a special in Calne and Swindon.

His parents, Paul and Sandra, and twin Adam were at the awards ceremony, held at the police headquarters in Devizes.

He said: “I cannot stress how important it is to report things as soon as possible, so we’re able to locate any suspects within a short space of time.”

Calne sergeant Simon Wright said: “[The suspect] was charged and remanded, something which may well not have happened had it not been for PCSO Cook’s actions.”

The 61-year-old who was arrested as a result of PCSO Cook’s action is now awaiting trial on a date still to be scheduled.