American television star Jesse McClure pinned on his Deputy badge when he joined armed police officers on the streets of Burnley – nine months after he witnessed a daring arrest in the town.
The colourful star of reality television series “Storage Hunters” was back in the UK filming a new programme when he was invited to join officers from Lancashire’s Armed Response Unit.
Jesse, who hails from Los Angeles, was stopped at traffic lights in April when officers from the same unit made a dramatic arrest of car thieves in Accrington Road.
The star took time out from his guest policing duties to call in to the Burnley Express office with officers PC Dave France and PC Ryan Mcintyre to give his thoughts on everything from American gun laws, a pint at the pub and Pendle Hill.
Jesse, who found fame searching for old and second-hand artefacts in “Storage Hunters” was fascinated to be shown the Burnley Express’ collection of back copies stretching back decades.
He particularly enjoyed reading a copy of the Burnley Advertiser from 1864 which carried a report on the progress of the American Civil War.
You guys are my kind of people – very down-to-earth and friendly.US television star Jesse McClure
“I never thought I’d be reading about the civil war in a dusty old Burnley newspaper. It was amazing.
“It’s good to be back in England. Back in April, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed the arrest. My natural American curiosity kicked in and I started filming it on my phone,” Jesse said.
“I posted the video on social media and it just went viral. I have always had respect for the British police so it was great to finally join them on a patrol. I am used to seeing silly and excessive force used by officers so it was good to see these guys arrested without any shots fired.”
A self-confessed Anglophile, Jesse has now moved to the UK and hopes to settle here and make further television.
And despite growing up in the huge urban sprawl of Los Angeles, home of Hollywood and some 3.9 million inhabitants, Jesse says he dreams of calling North-West England his home.
He added: “If I get the chance to settle in England permanently I would love to live in the North-West.
“You guys are my kind of people – very down-to-earth and friendly. The lifestyle is much slower-paced over here which suits me.
“I love the Ribble Valley and the countryside. It’s fascinating to me, much more so than the concrete jungle of LA. I’ve done all the usuals like go up Pendle Hill and I enjoy having a pint in the local pub.
“Greenery and rain is a foreign sight to me so I love it. I arrived back here at the start of December and it just hasn’t stopped raining. I believe there’s a drought in LA at the moment.”
On the more serious issue of gun control and the ongoing contentious issues of police killings in America, Jesse offered a balanced view.
“Listen, in an ideal world everyone should be allowed to carry a gun, but the problem is that not everyone is mentally equipped to do so.
“I really believe there should be more stringent checks in the US. Some people can be erratic and can have medical and mental issues. Only responsible people should be owning guns.
“There’s been a lot in the news in the States recently about police shooting civilians.
“A lot of my relatives are from a police background and it’s sad to say that respect for police is at an all-time low in the US now. A lot of the complaints are baseless. The thing is, the police are the first people you ring if you’re in trouble.
“I’ve got to say, I love the British police. It’s been cool riding out with them, but it was fairly quiet. They must have heard I was in town!”
PC France, who is based at the ARU unit in Blackburn, said they were happy to give Jesse a taste of a day in their work.
He added: “During the day, we stopped a drink driver as well as a stolen car on the Stoops estate. We also intervened in a potential drug deal in Nelson.
“It’s nice to know Jesse appreciates British policing. Despite serving in the armed response unit I’m definitely of the opinion that everyday British police should remain unharmed and that is the feeling of the vast majority of officers.
“The training to be an armed officer is rigorous, and rightly so. It carries the ultimate responsibility.
“Thankfully, gun crime is few and far between in East Lancashire, but we can never predict when something serious will happen”
Jesse remained tight-lipped on his next television venture, but said he hoped to remain in England as long as possible.
“I’m an ice hockey fan so I’ve joined a team in Blackburn but I’m also trying to get into soccer.
“I just want to soak up the customs. I guess I’ll carry on hanging with the police and drinking pints til I can’t feel my face.
“On a serious note, though, I’m looking forward to making some good television and enjoying the countryside.”