Two police officers who grappled with a drunken man to prevent him from blowing up a petrol station at Yeovil, Somerset, have been nominated for a national award for their bravery.

Constable Rebecca Quirk and her tutor, constable Matthew Wilson, tackled the man who was brandishing a lighter at The Co-operative petrol station on Sherborne Road in June 2015.

They were confronted by the distressed man surrounded by spilt petrol saying that he wanted to die when they arrived at the scene. Frightened staff and customers had locked themselves inside the forecourt shop.

Attempts to calm the man down failed and the officers were forced to intervene. The offender fought violently and tried repeatedly to ignite the lighter he was holding, and although they couldn’t handcuff the man because of his struggles, they held him until assistance could arrive.

Once the situation was under control PC Quirk and Wilson went to reassure the people trapped in the Co-op store.

The chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, Vince Howard, said: “PC Wilson and PC Quirk dealt with the matter without thought for their own personal safety. They acted with outstanding bravery and only their quick thinking in this potentially life threatening situation prevented what could have without a doubt been a major disaster with fatalities.”

They were recognised with a chief constable’s commendation earlier this year and will now attend a national ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel in London for the Police Bravery Awards on July 14.