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Yorkshire police officer saves elderly man's life after he falls from boat

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An off-duty police officer on holiday with his family has been praised for rescuing an elderly man from a canal after he fell into the water.

Special Sergeant Mike Parris, from Harrogate, was in north Wales on a narrowboating trip when a man in his 70s fell from another barge nearby.

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The dad-of-four, who also works as a music teacher, spotted that the man was in danger of being crushed between his boat and the canal bank, and reacted quickly to save him.

Mike hoisted the man to safety by his belt and managed to move the barge away from him.

The off-duty North Yorkshire Police officer is part of the volunteer special constabulary and is based in Harrogate.

“I came out of my boat and heard someone calling for help.

“I thought they were struggling to moor at first. Then I realised there was a man in the water. He was in between the boat and the side of the canal, so it could have been pretty horrible.

“I managed to haul him out by his belt and made sure he was okay. He was a bit wet and shaken but fortunately he was absolutely fine apart from that.

“It’s the sort of situation where you think ‘I’ve just got to deal with this now - everything else has to wait’,” he said.

Superintendent Paula Booth, county commander for the Harrogate area, said the his actions and quick-thinking were a credit to the force.

“North Yorkshire Police is extremely proud of the huge contribution made by its Specials – our force would not be the same without them.

“T/Special Sgt Parris acted quickly and selflessly when he saw someone in trouble, and this embodies the skills and attributes we value in our Specials.”

Specials come from all walks of life and backgrounds and bring a diverse range of skills and life experiences to policing.

They have the same powers and uniform as regular police officers and are required to volunteer at least 16 hours per month to policing duties.

North Yorkshire Police currently has 131 Special Constables. To find out more, visitwww.northyorkshire.police.uk/jobs/special-constables