POLICE officers have paid tribute to a fallen constable who was killed 150 years ago.

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Ebenezer Tye died on 25 November 1862, aged just 24, as he tried to stop a burglary in Chediston Street in Halesworth.

His killer, John Ducker, was the last person to be publicly hanged in Suffolk.

Officers who serve the Halesworth and Southwold area recently gathered at PC Tye’s grave in the town cemetery to pay tribute to him and to recreate an old photograph of his colleagues, wearing the uniform of the time.

A special exhibition has also been organised by Halesworth and District Museum in conjunction with Suffolk Police Museum to honour the young officer.

Early on the morning of November 25 1862 PC Tye was in Chediston Street to keep an eye on local burglar John Ducker who was suspected of involvement in raids on local properties.

When Ducker appeared he was carrying a suspicious-looking bundle and Tye went to question him. There were shouts and a chase towards the reed beds down beside the river at the back of Chediston Street.

Later that morning after Tye failed to return to the police station, a search was made. His body was found in the river. He had been beaten with a cudgel.

Ducker was subsequently caught, charged, was tried for murder and was sentenced to death. He was hanged in Ipswich in 1863 and confessed to the crime on the gallows. Over 5,000 people attended the public hanging.

PC Tye was buried in Halesworth cemetery.

PC Chris Sadler, of Southwold & Halesworth Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This case shows policing has always been a dangerous profession and that officers put their lives on the line even in comparatively rural areas to protect local communities and catch criminals.

“We also think that, while many things have changed, the basics of policing – fighting crime, keeping the roads safe and the problems of young men drinking a bit too much on a Friday night – will have been largely the same 150 years ago as it is today.”

The display will run from November 27 to December 15 and will be open from 10am – 12.30pm, from Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free.

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