A BARNSTAPLE police officer on one of his first nights on duty in Bideford jumped into the River Torridge last night (Thursday) to rescue a teenage girl. PC Simeon Bayliss, 28, went into the river when the 16-year-old girl jumped into the water at around

A BARNSTAPLE police officer on one of his first nights on duty in Bideford jumped into the River Torridge last night (Thursday) to rescue a teenage girl.

PC Simeon Bayliss, 28, went into the river when the 16-year-old girl jumped into the water at around 9.30pm on one of the highest tides of the year.

PC Bayliss went after her, but the girl was swimming away from the quayside, said a police spokesman. He swam 300 metres into the tide to reach her, but she appeared determined not to be saved.

Fellow officer WPC Kelly Edwards was taken to the scene by a local man in a speedboat and both the girl and PC Bayliss were brought safely back to shore.

PC Bayliss told the Gazette: "I was in the water for five or six minutes. It is perhaps the best time of the year to go swimming and it is warmer than it has been. But it was freezing. I am normally based in Barnstaple. This was only my second shift in Bideford on a sergeant's tutorship course."

Coastguards, the Appledore lifeboat and a search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor were called to the scene.

The girl and an 18-year-old man believed to be her boyfriend, who did not enter the water, were both arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

The man was issued with a fixed penalty and the girl has been ordered to appear before North Devon Youth Court at the end of this month, charged with being drunk and disorderly.