PCSO John McVea has spent many years walking the streets of South Cumbria - but now it’s time for a desk job.

The 71-year-old is thought to be one of the country's oldest PCSOs, but retirement is the last thing on his mind, with today marking his first day on the job at the front desk of Barrow Police Station.

John joined Cumbria Constabulary as a special constable 29 years ago, and held a number of roles before applying for the job of PCSO in Dalton in 2005.

He said: “I always say I felt like a big cog in a small wheel at Dalton, as opposed to working on Barrow where there were more PCSOs and people.”

Over the decades, John has been closely involved in the community. Working closely with Dalton’s children, every year John and colleague Louise have organised free multi-sport events.

Reflecting on his time with the force, John admits that his time as a wildlife liaison officer prompted the most unusual callouts - including chasing a monkey.

He said: “I was at the railway station at Dalton and my colleagues had gone somewhere else where there had been a sighting.

"I could hear all of these birds yapping and yelling and squealing like crows. I had a look and you could see this long tail in the trees and I thought, 'that’s the monkey!'

“The troops came and Mr Gill, who owned the animal park at the time came, and we closed the [railway] track down.

"He was trying to shoot the monkey and failed miserably and so it ran off towards the top of Cemetery Hill. We surrounded him, but he just looked at us like, 'what are you playing at?' and jumped and ran in the cemetery gates.

"I was the only one who ran after it. It ran towards a church and, luckily for me, the door was open and there were two guys in there working.

"The monkey ran in and I ran in after it, shut the door and got the monkey in a refuse bin, popped the lid on and sat on it.”