HAVING grown up in 1950s and 1960s Burnley, Peter Guttridge left in his teens to study at Oxford, before living and working in London then Brighton.

But following the recent death of his mother, Peter has returned to live in the street where he grew up, while he and his siblings sell their childhood home.

He left the town after attending Burnley Grammar School and ‘never made it back north until now’.

“It has changed an awful lot,” he said.

“How can Burnley sustain a big 24-hour supermarket and other stores when there are whole streets boarded up, presumably for demolition?

“But it does still have a lot of beautiful places which I love.”

Being back in the town has inspired him to buy a house in the area and to make East Lancashire home once more.

However, he’s torn between the cobbles of Burnley’s terraces and the spellbinding rural appeal of Pendle.

“I’ve been really impressed by the food in a lot of the pubs — places like Fence,” he said.

“One day I will write a modern witch story. I feel it’s time for a new one.

“I’ve come back to the street where I was born and it’s weird.

"It’s not the prettiest street, so I’ll probably buy in one of the villages — but then I’m not coming back to my roots in the same way.”

With uncles and school friends in the local police, you’d think Peter had a ready source of inspiration for crime writing.

But instead he ‘fell’ into journalism and it was only when he took on a two-year commission to write a magazine column about new fatherhood that his flair for fiction became fully apparent.

“It was very well paid,” he said.

“No one had asked, but I didn’t have any children. So I thought that if I was going to be writing fiction, I should be doing that rather than journalism.”

One of Peter’s earliest crime memories was one of his family’s neighbours being convicted for the manslaughter of his wife.

While you’d expect this to form the basis of a plot, he’s kept the tale to one side.

“We lived right across the road from them," he said.

“I spent a lot of time with the guy. I’ve got the police files on the case from when I was a features writer for the national press.

“My mum was close friends with his mum and she was really upset when his mum died — so I felt it was all maybe a little too close to home to write about.”

But his childhood and youth in Burnley did influence his interest in the crime genre, with a ‘possibly false memory’ of a child being burned to death in a bonfire ‘den’ when a gang set it alight before Bonfire Night, and friends and relatives working for the police.

“There was a lot of violence in Burnley,” he said.

“Growing up, my uncles were a chief inspector and a desk sergeant so I used to hear stories from them.

"And a couple of boys I went to the Grammar with were in the police.

"One left in disgust at what went on. The other, I believe, was corrupt and got kicked out.

“I do want to do a big gangster story set in Burnley.

"Since I’ve been back, I’ve heard stories about the things going on here now; certain houses having steel doors and basements knocked through for easy escapes.

“You just get into conversation with Lancashire folk, and we’re not very discreet.

"Also, people love these stories, whether they’re true or urban legend. They love crime fiction.”

In his new book The Last King Of Brighton, the second in the Brighton Mystery trilogy — based on the still-unsolved real-life Brighton Trunk murder — a 1960s gangster’s son is paving his way in the music world.

The story was inspired by Peter’s own brother’s time in a group during the era.

But it’s the third book which brings the action to Blackburn and Pendle, following one of the character’s lives as a 1930s weaver — and there has been some TV interest which Peter is ready to follow up once all three are released.

Peter said: “Although I always set out to write it as a trilogy, the publishers have asked for books four and five.

“It can work; the characters can keep going and in book four two of them will move to Blackburn.”