Anti-drugs 'robocop' died from overdose

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The Independent Online

A police officer known for his work tackling drug dealers was found dead at his home from a heroin overdose.

Pc David Pilling, 47, was found by colleagues collapsed in the lounge of his flat near Regent's Park, in Camden, north London.

They discovered various items of drug paraphernalia beside him, including a Stanley knife, traces of heroin and a syringe.

An inquiry was launched and toxicology tests revealed the officer died from a massive overdose of heroin.

Detectives based at Camden CID found no suspicious circumstances and the case was handed to a coroner.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said a coroner sitting at St Pancras Coroner's Court recorded a verdict of death by misadventure earlier this week.

Colleagues said Mr Pilling was renowned for his work tackling drug dealers operating in busy Camden shopping streets.

One local newspaper reported that Mr Pilling earned the nickname of Robocop for his all-action style of policing.

Camden Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Dominic Clout said the dedicated officer is sadly missed.

He said: "Pc Pilling was a truly valued member of staff who proved popular with colleagues and members of the local community.

"He had served all 13 years of his service with Camden borough and, as a Safer Neighbourhoods officer, built strong links with residents of the Holborn and Covent Garden ward.

"As a result of the ongoing investigation into his death, detailed forensic tests have revealed that Pc Pilling died of a heroin overdose.

"Clearly, Pc Pilling displayed no signs of drug use while at Camden borough and his colleagues and supervisors were unaware of any issues relating to drugs.

"The Met does operate an alcohol and substance misuse policy which includes random screening of serving officers.

"While we will always support and actively seek help for colleagues who alert us of potential problems through challenging or difficult times, we will never tolerate the use of drugs amongst officers and will deal with any reported cases severely."

Mr Pilling died on March 26 at his home in Albany Street, NW1.