A CARK pilot will patrol the air space over Cumbria as the charity Skywatch’s first police volunteer.

Mike Carruthers’ day job is to fly people up to 2,000ft so they can skydive out of his plane, but he has decided to combine this with his volun-teer work as a special constable.

He is putting himself, and his aircraft, at the disposal of Skywatch, a civil air support charity which assists in search and rescue operations, and traffic accidents.

“I’ll be able to spot someone in distress that little bit faster than people on the ground,” said Mr Carruthers. “This will be quite exciting for me as I will be able to help people reach a happy ending and that’s what everybody wants at the end of the day. I’ll be able to work directly with the police as I’m already trained.”

The only adaption the pilot has had to make to his ZK KA8 plane was to add his police radio that he already uses as a special constable.

“As a special constable, I am always encouraged to use my other interests with the job, so I had a think and rea-lised my experience as a pilot could really help.”

Mr Carruthers will be prov-iding his services free. He said he would be happy to take to the skies pretty much any time police needed him.

“I will be offering that extra bit of support that Cumbrian police don’t have at the mom-ent.

“Hopefully, other members of the police who are also pilots will consider doing som- ething similar in their area,” he said.

Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow said the new supp-ort would be really useful for the force as, at the moment, it had to call in planes from other police forces.

“There are lots of situations when having support in the sky will mean we can get to an incident that much faster,” said Mr Greenhow.

For more information visit skywatch on www.skywatch civilairpatrol.org.uk