PC Mick Futter retires as King’s Lynn town centre beat bobby
- Credit: Ian Burt
A police officer who has clocked up more than 20,000 miles pounding the beat is set to retire from the force.
When PC Mick Futter joined Norfolk police, in June 1990, there were no mobile phones and officers drove around in Mark II Ford Escorts.
And while King's Lynn nick had its own snooker room, it didn't boast a single computer.
After spells at Hunstanton and in the Royal protection squad, PC Futter became Lynn's town centre beat bobby 10 years ago. He became best known as the 'cardboard copper', after he modelled for a life-sized cut-out placed in shops to deter thieves. The cut-outs, made by PC Futter in his spare time four years ago, proved to be effective.
'Sainsbury's put a camera in one and put it front of the meat counter and the meat theft stopped,' he said.
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Nowadays, most theft carried out in Lynn is drug-related. PC Futter said: 'Most of the shoplifters I deal with have a heroin addiction. They need money to buy drugs.'
While the cardboard coppers had a high profile presence, the real thing was no slouch either when it came to getting out and about.
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'I worked out the other day with my inspector I do around 10 miles a day,' he said. 'Twenty days on duty a month, that's 200 miles a month, minus a month's leave, that's more than 2,000 miles a year.' Despite probably clocking up the equivalent of walking around the globe over the course of his career, PC Futter said he had enjoyed the job.
'I take time talking to people when I'm in the town centre, I go in all the shops - even our clients know me,' he said.
Now 57 PC Futter, who grew up in Heacham, joined the police at the age of 30, after starting out as bricklayer.
'The building went downhill, I wanted a job with a bit of excitement so I applied for the police,' he said. 'It's certainly been an eye-opener.'
Back in the 90s, there were more officers based at Lynn police station, where surplus space is now being demolished.
'They've all been my friends and I'll miss them,' PC Futter said of his past and present colleagues.
After he hangs up his handcuffs on June 4, PC Futter, who lives in West Norfolk with two grown-up children, said he planned to get on with some building work.
He'll also be keeping his eye in on the dartboard, having won the police national darts championship in 2002 and 2007.