Tributes paid to popular police officer

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Tributes have been paid to a police officer originally from Whitley Bay.

Family and friends are mourning the death of Pc Gavin Smith, who was part of the Police Interceptors team at Durham Police.

The 34-year-old died this morning.

Gav had recently undergone treatment for cancer which had spread to his spine. He was treated in hospital and was then allowed to return home to Bishop Auckland and received an escort from his colleagues.

It was at home he sadly passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. He leaves wife Kezi and daughter Tilly, four.

Kezi said: “I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support which has been overwhelming.

“It has been a real comfort to both me and Tilly that he was so well regarded by so many.

“We will both miss him so very much.”

Gav, who was originally from Whitley Bay, had been with Durham Constabulary for 12 years and worked with the Roads Policing Unit out of the Spennymoor station.

Colleagues had been fundraising to send him and his family away for a weekend. Sadly, that was not possible but proceeds will be passed on for them to use in whichever way they see fit.

Insp Ed Turner said: “Gav was extremely popular with colleagues and always had a smile on his face.

“He really was a glass half-full kind of guy and even right towards the end he was thinking about other people and about supporting his family.

“He will be sorely missed by all at the force.”