A MUCH-LOVED police officer was found dead at home after a probe was launched into a Covid rules breach.

PC Doug Franks, 43, was being investigated for misconduct over meeting a work colleague outside office hours.

The devoted and popular officer from Bognor met a female PC in a car to complete job-related paperwork, The Sun reported.

However, they were reportedly spotted by colleagues and asked why they were together – which led to a fine being issued.

He was then told he would be investigated by Professional Standards for misconduct.

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A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “A referral has been made to the IOPC and Sussex Police is supporting Hampshire in their investigation on behalf of HM Coroner.

“As such, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further and we ask for the privacy of the family to be respected at this difficult time.

"PC Doug Franks, 43, who served as a member of the Bognor Response team, died suddenly at his home in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, on February 10. He leaves a son."

The Sussex Police Federation described the death of PC Franks as "devastating".

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Daren Egan, chairman of Sussex Police Federation, said: “I know many of Doug’s colleagues will be utterly devastated - and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this terrible time.

"Doug was a larger than life character who was devoted to his son, job and colleagues.

"He was well respected and loved within the police family.

“The Federation are supporting colleagues as best we can at the moment and would encourage anyone in need of assistance or help to please let us know.”