A retired detective with 30 years’ service in the police has joined the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service as Intelligence Manager.

Gary Thomas retired from West Mercia force last May and will use his experience in intelligence gathering to help prevent illegal fishing and fisheries crime.

The Fisheries Enforcement Support Service operates in partnership with the Environment Agency and is funded by freshwater rod licence income as part of the National Angling Strategic Services contract.

Gary said: “This is a terrific and exciting opportunity to help make a difference and contribute to protecting our fish and fisheries. There is a huge amount of work to do and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Dilip Sarkar MBE, the Angling Trust’s National Enforcement Manager, said that effective enforcement had to be intelligence-led.

He added: “Gary is a highly experienced intelligence practitioner who will now be leading on setting up our Information Sharing Agreements with the Environment Agency, police forces and units, and our secure Criminal Justice System email account, collating and sharing intelligence from the Voluntary Bailiff Service and other sources.

“He will also lead on Angling Alert, our cutting-edge, web-based, email and text fisheries crime alert system. This is a big step forward and we are delighted to welcome Gary to our close-knit and dedicated team.”

Commended many times during his 30-year service, Gary has broad operational experience and specific skills in intelligence work and Rural Policing.

Gary joined West Yorkshire Police in 1985 where his first post was in the multi-ethnic Chapeltown area of Leeds and served there during that summer’s race riots. In 1990, he transferred to West Mercia Police, stationed at Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, serving as a uniform patrol officer and detective, gaining experience of dealing with rural crime.

From 2000 onwards, Gary was a detective sergeant stationed at Hereford, initially on reactive CID where he worked on several investigations on the Major Crime Unit including an armed abduction and murder. From 2003, Gary moved into dedicated intelligence work as a detective inspector, initially in the Dedicated Source Unit and responsible for the management of informants. Involved in various covert operations, Gary was also Senior Investigating Officer for several major crime incidents. Prior to retiring in May 2015, Gary’s last few years of service were as a uniform duty response, planning and community policing inspector.

Gary is married to Karen, has four sons and his interests include angling, golf, hill walking, birdwatching and sport.