TRIBUTES have been paid by Eastbourne Rugby Club to a long-serving police officer shot dead in south London.

Sgt Matiu Ratana, 54, was two months away from retirement when he was shot in the chest in Croydon custody centre on Friday. 

Eastbourne Rugby Club has said: “On behalf of everyone at Eastbourne Rugby Club, we are shocked and saddened to hear the devastating news of Sgt Matt Ratana in the line of duty.

“Someone who served the community as a police officer and gave back as Head Coach of East Grinstead Rugby Football Club.

“Matt always welcomed us and wanted to support rugby to be played and to be played in the manner it should be.

“He will be sorely missed and our thoughts and prayers are with Matts family, friends, colleagues and everyone associated with East Grinstead RFC.”