A FORMER detective inspector who investigated some of the most heinous crimes during his time policing the streets of Warrington with CID has drawn on his own experience for his latest novel.

Bob Barker, who publishes his work under the name of Robert F Barker, spent 30 years in policing after joining as an officer at 19.

From the late 80s to the mid 90s, the now retired police chief was based in Warrington during the era when Mr Smith’s nightclub was the main attraction for clubbers on a Friday night.

The 65-year-old, who has worked across the county in different roles within the force, said: “I always wanted to do something that was a bit exciting, interesting and beneficial to the community.

“I can remember wanting to join the force as a young lad – my mother said I used to talk about it when I was four years old.”

During his time in Warrington CID, Bob dealt with some of the most serious and harrowing crimes including murder investigations and armed robbery probes – memories that will never leave him.

“There were some very challenging and tragic cases,” said Bob, who is now living in Northwich.

But some of his most notable cases involved the iconic Mr Smith’s nightclub, which was demolished almost four years ago after a fire tore through the building leaving a trail of destruction.

“When I was detective inspector in Warrington, Mr Smith’s was at its height,” he said.

“It was a big nightclub and it was very busy so it had its fair share of violent incidents, disorder and drug dealing.

“There were people fighting in the streets and in the club and I dealt with stabbings.

“It wasn’t a den of violence and drug dealing but it was a lively nightspot.”

After working his way up the ranks, Bob devised a novel idea at the age of 49. He decided he wanted to swap the force for fiction.

“Some personal life changes made me take stock,” said Bob, who spent a number of years honing his craft.

“I was great at writing police reports but novel writing is different.”

This meant hanging up his police uniform in 2002 so he had the time to put pen to paper to write his first trilogy of novels, The Last Gasp, The Final Breath and Out of Air followed by Family Reunion.

The fictional series follows DCI Jamie Carver as he hunts a devious serial killer.

His latest novel Midnight’s Door was published on Amazon on Monday.

“It is a gritty crime novel. It follows the story of a group of door staff working at a fictionalised version of Mr Smith’s,” said Bob, who worked his way up to the role of chief superintendent after moving to a different police force.

“With a serial killer terrorising the town and a Russian gangster-type trying to take over the club to further his drug-dealing operations, it is a fast-paced thriller that may have particular appeal for Warrington crime fiction fans or anyone who remembers the club.”