PCSO Stephen Huxtable has been a familiar face walking the beat in Bideford for years - but at the bleep of a pager, he swiftly swaps his police hat for a firemans uniform.PCSO Huxtable is Bidefords first police and fire community support officer - a role which sees him act as a retained fire-fighter while at work. Although hes only been in the role for three months, PCSO Huxtable, who has been in the police for 15 years, said he had already attended around 10 shouts. He said: The hardest part is having to run up the hill to the fire station. Ive only had one big fire, which was the one in Bridgeland Street. Even though I didnt have my breathing apparatus training so I couldnt go in, it was surprising how much I could do at the scene. PCSO Huxtable said the two roles pretty much went hand-in-hand, and had helped the fire service overcome difficulty in recruiting retained firefighters to cover the daytime shifts. He said: I visited the property of an elderly lady for a fire safety visit and found piles of begging letters, which ties in with our Operation Jessica, working against mail scammers. And on the other hand, Ive gone to visit someone as a PCSO and saw their smoke detector wasnt working. The voluntary role is part of a two-year pilot scheme by Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, which has drawn national interest.Click here to return to our homepage for more North Devon stories.