Ex drugs squad cop tells all of Lancaster and Morecambe career

Roger Price.

Roger Price.

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A retired cop has drawn inspiration from solving notorious cases including a potential drugs bust at Glasson Dock to pen a series of crime thriller novels.

Roger Price, a former detective inspector, began his career as a cadet in Lancaster and Morecambe in the 1970s.

Roger Price, former DI who began his career in Lancaster and Morecambe. Here he is pictured in the mid 90s when he was a detective sergeant on the drug squad.

Roger Price, former DI who began his career in Lancaster and Morecambe. Here he is pictured in the mid 90s when he was a detective sergeant on the drug squad.

Roger decided to join after his older brother, Barry, also a police officer, died of cancer at 32.

“I was quite young when he died, about 15 and I wanted to be like my big brother,” said the 58-year-old.

“Barry was like a father figure to me, he left us and I thought right I’ll join.”

Over his 31-year service Roger has been a part of the National Crime Squad and police operation Nimrod, solving some of the county’s top drug investigations and murders.

One particular case involved dealers attempting to import two tonnes of Thai herbal cannabis at Glasson Dock.

Roger believes at that time it was one of the world’s biggest drug hauls, taking three years to investigate.

“Their aim then, once that was successful, was to import several tonnes of heroin via Glasson Dock, you can imagine what state our community would have been in if that happened.

“Criminals, even though they are organised, they are still chaotic and often change their minds.”

The dealers were later arrested in Southampton.

Whilst working for Nimrod, the county’s strategy to get rid of street level class A drugs, Roger was sent to Lancaster several times, arresting dealers in Dalton Square and in Morecambe’s West End.

However during Roger’s career Lancaster and Moreambe were not high on the list of drug hot spot areas.

“To be honest Lancaster and Morecambe was the least crime affected area compared to some of the other areas I covered,” said Roger who lives in Walmer Bridge.

“With drug dealers it is a never ending matter, they quickly get replaced by another, it is only a short term solution sometimes.”

Roger, a dad-of-two, has also had to face attacks and stabbings whilst on duty.

“I was trying to arrest one man who was attacking someone else, then he turned on me, I managed to get him in a headlock, I took the knife away from my chest, and I kicked it across floor.

“The second time was a crazy person in a phone box with a bread knife lashing out, going for my stomach, I managed to limbo backwards at great speed.”

The crime author was also involved in helping to solve another famous case during his career.

David Wilson, an accountant from Chorley, was murdered in 1992 by two hitmen on orders of Michael Austin. Austin, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was behind an international multi-million pound cigarette fraud for which Mr Wilson was a middleman.

“He had been running the books for a New York Mafia family, quite how contact was made I don’t know,” said Roger.

“It was getting too hot to handle, he wanted out, that was him signing his own death warrant.”

Since retiring from the police force in 2008 Roger has used his experiences to inform his writing as a crime thriller novelist.

His new book, Nemesis, focuses on an unusual relationship between a detective and a TV reporter. The book, out now, includes references to citizens he has helped.

One elderly man, who shut his curtains for five years to block out drug dealers on his street, is featured. Roger caught the dealers and afterwards visited the man who began to open his curtains.

“Things like that make the job worth doing, that’s better than any drug seizure.”

Roger will be doing a book signing event of Nemesis at Lancaster Library at 2pm on Tuesday January 31.