He used to hunt down criminals and keep the streets of East Sussex safe.
Now former policeman Steve Williams from Hailsham has swapped a life of crime for a life of grime as he and his two colleagues Dave Burnett and Martyn Chandler go under the streets to fight a new menace.
The three former police officers have joined Southern Water to ensure commerical customers, such as restaurants and takeaways, understand the problems caused by tipping fat, oil and grease (FOG) down drains and are battling to flush out people who cause blockages in the sewers.
Cooking oils and fats solidify as they cool, which causes the blockages in the pipes and sewers which can lead to waste water flooding into streets, gardens and homes.
Massive balls of fat can gather in the sewers and pipes with the first half of the year seeing almost 4,500 fat related blockages across the region of which 100 were in the Lewes and Newhaven area.
The trio, who are Network Protection and Enforcement Officers with Southern Water, ensure restaurants install and maintain grease traps to prevent it from getting into the pipes.
Steve, who was a dog handler for 31 years, said: “Once you have told someone, there’s no excuse really.
“I found out the hard way about 20 years ago - I washed up a roasting tin in the sink and let the oily water drain away down the plug.
“Then the next day I had to spend two hours unblocking the u-bend. It was nasty and I never did it again.”
Dave, who lives in Kent, added: “People tend to think that if they run the hot tap that will wash the fat away but it soldifies as it cools.
“I went to one restaurant where the sewer was so badly clogged that the manhole was raised above ground level in the backyard by a build up of FOG.
“People are always surprised to hear about the enforcement side of what we do and that we can prosecute businesses if they don’t heed our advice.”
Southern Water has launched campaign Pain in the Drain to try and educate people on what they can and can’t flush down the toilet or wash down the sink.
Snakes, goldfish, cutlery, false teeth, mobile phones, jewellery and even a severed finger are just some of the unusual finds that have been discovered lurking underneath the region in Southern Water’s sewers and pipes.
For more information about the Pain in the Drain campaign visit Southern Water’s website at www.southernwater.co.uk/paininthedrain.