GHOSTLY goings-on and an escaped tiger are only two of the highlights of a long-serving police officer’s career.

Inspector Mike Thompson has retired after a 30 years with North Yorkshire Police.

During his career Mike has dealt with just about every kind of incident which could confront an officer, from an overnight stake-out in the most haunted property in York, to providing mutual aid to Merseyside Police during the Toxteth riots.

Mike, who lives in Easingwold, joined the force on February 5, 1979. He began his career in Tadcaster and Selby before being promoted to sergeant in August 1990.

After this he spent time in Whitby custody department and in the roads policing unit, before returning to Selby as a patrol sergeant.

Following a spell as a police trainer at force headquarters, he moved to York to work in the custody unit and on local patrol.

He was promoted to his latest role as control room inspector in June 2003.

He said: “I have had a fantastic career with North Yorkshire Police and have encountered all kinds of situations.

“One of many which I can recall was having to spend a night in what was reported to be the most haunted pub in York.

“During the operation, which was targeting burglars, we came to realise why the pub had its reputation. The stairs continuously creaked, making us believe someone was in the building. After each creak, we leapt into action, only to find no one there.

“However, the stake-out eventually had a successful outcome when we caught the burglars red-handed – trying to escape with the safe.”

He was also involved in several high-profile police operations over the years, including a firearms incident to locate a tiger that had escaped from its enclosure at Knaresborough Zoo. Although he didn’t pull the trigger, he was instrumental in preventing the tiger’s escape. Mike said: “I’ve had an interesting, challenging and rewarding career and will certainly miss both the work and my colleagues. So much so, that at some point in the future I hope to return to the control room as a civilian dispatcher.”

The head of communications directive, Superintendent Glyn Payne, who presented Mike with his service award, added: “Mike has left huge shoes to fill. He is a very experienced, competent and professional officer. His experience and knowledge has carried the force through a number of critical incidents and he will be missed by all. He takes with him our very best wishes for a happy retirement.”