Police Federation

Tributes to ‘old-fashioned thief-taker’ after Covid-19 tragedy

Popular retired detective had an encyclopaedic memory of local criminals

16 March 2020


A former detective who lost his life after testing positive for coronavirus at the age of 59 has been described as ‘a walking encyclopaedia of criminals’ by a devastated former colleague.

Nick Matthews

Nick Matthews

Andy Roebuck, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, paid tribute to popular Nailsea father-of-two Nick Matthews who tragically passed away on Saturday after the Covid-19 test.

The retired police officer from North Somerset sadly died at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust Mr Matthews a few days after celebrating his birthday in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

Reacting to the shocking news of the UK’s youngest coronavirus-related death, Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation Andy Roebuck fondly recalled the married dad-of-two from his time as a colleague of DC Matthews in Bristol.

He said: “This has come as terrible blow to every single one of our 2,600 amazing Police Officers locally and those across the country.

“Nick was very much an old-school type of detective who was larger than life. Local criminals respected and hated him at the same time because he was so good at his job.

“I worked alongside him at Broadbury Road Police Station in Bristol South back in the nineties, where he was well-known for his unbelievable knowledge of criminals. He could just look at CCTV footage and instantly come up with the name of a subject just like a walking encyclopaedia of criminals.

“I’d call him an old-fashioned thief-taker, who had an incredible memory for names and faces. He worked mainly in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare where he left an indelible impression on the communities he served.

“Nick was a real character and true legend who made a positive impression on everyone he met. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Mary and children Charlotte and Ben.

“Our team is in close contact with the family, and we will continue to offer advice and support to his family during this terribly difficult time.”

Mrs Matthews chose to share his picture on Facebook in the hope people who recognised him, would choose to self-isolate.

Councillor Don Davies, the leader of North Somerset Council, said the authority’s “heartfelt condolences” were with the family and all that knew him.
“I understand that the family have requested privacy at this difficult time and I ask that everyone respects their wishes.”

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