TRIBUTES are being paid to a police officer who was killed trying to stop a burglary last night.

Fellow officers say PC Andrew Harper 'made the ultimate sacrifice' when he died responding to a call-out about 11.30pm last night near Reading, Berkshire.

The roads policing officer had only been married for four weeks. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson called the killing 'a mindless and brutal crime', and said it is an 'absolute tragedy'.

Ten people - one as young as 13 - have been arrested in a murder investigation after PC Harper's death.

Colleagues have paid tribute, saying 'his heroism will not be forgotten'.

It appears the tragedy involved at least one car, with TVP Chief Constable John Campbell confirming reports that PC Harper was 'dragged along' by a vehicle while responding to the call.

He was with another officer at the time of his death. 

Forensic officers are searching for evidence at a crossroads along the A4, a major route into the town.

This is the scene at 2pm this afternoon

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Picture -Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Ten people, all male aged between 13 and 30, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are in police custody at various police stations across the Thames Valley.

Forces across the country are mourning the loss of their colleague, with many police stations and headquarters flying their flags half-mast.

The force's police federation, which represents officers, paid tribute to PC Harper.

Its chairman Craig O'Leary tweeted: 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Picture from Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The federation issued a statement, which says: "This is totally devastating news.

"All our thoughts - and the thoughts of the entire police family across the UK - are with the family, friends and close colleagues of PC Harper who died last night.

"Police officers go to work each and every day to do their duty. We are courageous, caring and compassionate. We confront danger on a daily basis. We know there is a risk when we put on the uniform but we do so as we are proud to protect the public.

"Sadly on very rare and horrendous occasions a colleague makes the ultimate sacrifice. We will ensure that heroism is never forgotten.

"We are offering our full support to the officer’s family and colleagues at this simply awful time."

It comes days after the federation spoke out about officers being assaulted on the frontline.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Thames Valley Police Deputy Chief constable Jason Hogg added: “Our deepest thoughts at this time are of course with Andrew’s friends and family, who are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.

“Our thoughts also extend to all of Andrew’s colleagues within Thames Valley Police.

“As a force we are devastated at the loss of our colleague and will all be supporting each other at this difficult time."

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: “This is a tragic incident, and I would like to reassure the public as well as our officers and staff that we have launched a full and thorough investigation to establish what has happened.

“We have made a total of ten arrests in connection with this incident, and those arrested are currently in police custody. Those arrested are all male and aged between 13 and 30.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident to get in touch. If you have any information which you think could be at all relevant to our investigation, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please leave details on our website or call 101.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, added: “I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of PC Andrew Harper.

"This is a tragic loss for the force and I know that Thames Valley Police are doing all they can to support those who have been affected."