Watch: Police officers doused in petrol as crowd shouts 'light them up'

29 September 2020, 11:48 | Updated: 29 September 2020, 12:15

By Kate Buck

This is the horrific moment eight police officers were doused in petrol as a crowd shouted "light them up" as they tried to arrest a dangerous driver.

The brave officers from Essex Police were working in Canvey Island in May 2019 when they received reports of a motorbike being driven dangerously in the area.

They ended up pursuing the driver for around eight miles, with the police helicopter also being drafted in the help with finding him.

When they caught up with him on an estate in Basildon, but when they went to arrest him a crowd of around 30 people gathered.

One woman threatened them with a hammer, before Justin Jackson, 28, rushed forward with a watering can full of petrol.

This is the moment police officers were covered in petrol
This is the moment police officers were covered in petrol. Picture: Essex Police

He then launched it over the officers, with two having to be taken to hospital after swallowing the toxic liquid and getting it in their eyes.

As Jackson launched his attack, the crowd shouted "light them up".

The shocking footage serves as a reminder of the danger the men and women in the police put themselves in everyday.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Baldwin told BBC's Critical Incident that the officers involved feared for their lives.

"One match, one lighter, one spark could result in us going up in flames and being disfigured for life or possibly even dead," he added.

Jackson was jailed for three years and nine months
Jackson was jailed for three years and nine months. Picture: Essex Police
The officers were left in fear fo their lives
The officers were left in fear fo their lives. Picture: Essex Police

PC Matthew Cutts tried to stop Jackson, fearing he could be about to seriously injure or even kill his colleagues.

He said: "I could smell petrol so I sort of fumbled around to get my baton out but once I've got it I've put it behind my head and just struck him in line with my training."

Jackson was jailed for three years and nine months following the incident.

A 17-year-old from Basildon was disqualified from driving for a year and fined.

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