A police constable has been commended for his bravery during a "devastating" wildfire which tore through a village.

PC Carl Cowper received a British Transport Police Federation Excellence Award on September 13 for saving lives during a wildfire in Wennington village near Rainham, which destroyed around 18 buildings.

The wildfire occured on July 19 last year, the UK's hottest day on record.

The constable, who spotted the fire en-route to work, said that no one from the force knew he was there and a sergeant tried to ring him, but he had left his phone in the van.

"I just couldn’t believe how fast the fire spread," he added. "I’ve been in this job for over 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

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PC Cowper was the first on the scene and attended the first house on fire.

He continued to help evacuate people once the London Fire Brigade arrived, assisting for four hours in total.

British Transport Police Federation Chairman Stuart Cowan said: “Carl showed great bravery and initiative.

"His selfless actions demonstrate the highest standards of British Transport Police officers."