BY DAY he is fighting crime, by night Rich Pitman is letting his imagination and pen run wild.

The police sergeant from Caldicot, who has a fivebook deal with Ghostly Publishing, will find out tonight whether he has won a coveted prize for up-andcoming authors.

The 32-year-old is up against 11 other authors for the People’s Book Prize, with his children’s fantasy book Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness.

The public voted him through, securing a place in the children’s fiction category of the national competition, which is aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works.

Mr Pitman’s book follows a boy destined to one day destroy the world and Jimmy is the hero, but finds it hard to come to terms with being the harbinger of doom.

The first of five books, the husband of Kristy, 33, saw it released last October and he finds writing a welcome relief from the day job.

“With policing it’s very structured. When I get home it gives me a chance to letmy mind wander, it’s nothing to do with crime,” he said, as he arrived for work at Coleford Police Station for the Gloucestershire force.

Mr Pitman does not have children himself but used to be a teacher and holds free writing workshops at schools across Wales.

His book has already been taken by the Welsh Book Council and numerous bookshops throughout the UK including Waterstones and Amazon.

Neil Trigger , managing director of Ghostly Publishing, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for a debut author like Rich to reach such heady heights.

I’m glad that others can see the originality and quality that I spotted when he first submitted it to Ghostly Publishing.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a win in the final.”

The follow up, Jimmy Threepwood and the Elixir of Light is due out in October and each one took just three months to write.