THE district's top policemen have hailed a Marlow inspector as he retires after 30 years of serving in Thames Valley.

Insp.Wilks walked out of Marlow Police Station for the final time on February 15.

He was one of eight inspectors to work in the last three years with Wycombe Area Commander, Supt Gilbert Houalla, who said: "I have found Ray robust, focused and with a great sense of humour.

"But best of all he managed to keep our community on board and reasonably happy, which is important when you are policing by consent, something his successor may wish to make note of."

Supt Houalla pointed to Insp Wilks' award of a Chief Constable Commendation for his contribution to policing the Olympics, last year - one of the most prestigious gongs given within a constabulary.

He said: "Ray's interest was not just confined to policing, although pantomimes are part of the French culture, I got to know a great deal about it from Ray who wrote many of the jokes which he insisted on rehearsing in my presence, it is a miracle he made it to his retirement date coming to think of it!

"The one thing I will not miss about Ray is him popping up like a bad penny every time the French Rugby team lost against England - which is quite often recently - or anyone else for that matter. Will I ever forgive him for it? Probably not, but if you ask me, will I miss him, I will have to admit that I will, we all will."

Ch Insp Colin Seaton said: "Ray Wilks is popular both within the policing family and the community we are going to miss him and his efficient work ethic.

"We would all like to wish him the best in his retirement from the police and I would like to personally thank Ray for all he has done for the people in our community."

Marlow Mayor Jocelyn Towns said: "Ray has been a real inspiration to us in Marlow, his calm, upbeat and professional outlook has taken us through many situations, If there have been any issues, he and his team have dealt with them swiftly and professionally. We will miss Ray in Marlow though I would like to wish him a very happy retirement, but would add, he will be a hard act to follow."