A NEWS Shopper reporter has added words of tribute to the New Addington police officer who died suddenly last week.

PC Mark Parsons, 43, collapsed and died in Beckenham at around 10am on November 6 while off-duty.

The cause of death is still unknown.

PC Parsons worked on the Fieldway Safer Neighbourhoods Team in New Addington, Croydon, having previously served with Kent Police for several years and also with the Met.

Leisure editor Nikki Jarvis, who knew PC Parsons from working for the Croydon Advertiser, said: “He was the nicest police officer, and one of the kindest people I ever had the pleasure of knowing.”

"Working as a trainee reporter, it can be challenging making contacts and gaining trust within the police force but I felt Mark and I were friends from the start.

"We both started working in the Fieldway and New Addington patches around the same time, and Mark would always say ‘we're both new to this, let's find our way together’.

"He had such a gentle, quiet nature that sometimes I found it hard to imagine him dealing with violent criminals, but police work was truly his calling.

"When Mark knew I had senior reporter exams coming up, he called me to find out how it all went, would always send me thank you notes for covering his team's initiatives and even sent my editor a letter praising me for no other reason than to be kind.”

Acting Croydon borough commander Superintendent Rob Atkin said: “Mark collapsed whilst he was out and despite the best efforts of the paramedics and medical staff at Croydon University Hospital, he died later that morning.

“He was an outstanding police officer who genuinely cared about the people and communities he served.”