THE mother of PC Mick Atkinson has thanked everyone for their tributes on social media.

Police dog handler PC Atkinson was found dead this weekend and since the announcement yesterday friends and colleagues have been paying their respects.

His mum, Beverley Atkinson, said on Twitter "You'll never know how much they mean to us all as his family." 

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said yesterday that officers from West Yorkshire Police were called to a house in their area at 11am on Sunday.

She said: "Sadly, on arrival, officers found the body of a man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

"A coroner’s enquiry will be held, but police do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. We can confirm that the man was a serving North Yorkshire Police officer."

On Twitter Sgt Paul Cording said he had laid flowers at the memorial garden at Harrogate Police station.

PC Atkinson joined the force in 2001 and started as a Police Constable in Scarborough, before moving to the Dog Support Unit as a dog handler.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward paid tribute to PC Atkinson on Monday, and said she learned of his death "with great sadness".

She said: "Mick was a distinguished officer and had been part of the North Yorkshire Police family for 17 years.

"He was a well-liked and much respected member of the team and of our wider policing family and his loss will be felt profoundly.

"His death has come as a great shock to all of us and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this extremely difficult time."

Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain also took to social media to pass his condolences to PC Atkinson's family.

He said: "I served together with Mick as PCs in Scarborough when he first joined NYP.

"I am proud to be able to call him a friend and know he will be sorely missed by both his NYP family and my own."

Superintendent Mike Walker of North Yorkshire Police said: "This is an utterly tragic incident.

"Our thoughts are with the officer’s family, friends and colleagues at this extremely difficult time."

Sergeant Paul Cording joined North Yorkshire Police at about the same time as PC Atkinson and knew him well.

He said: "I am absolutely gutted and feel numb. He joined just after me so was always around HQ and being in specialist ops and formerly on our band we knew each other really well.

"A big lad with an even bigger heart and a smile that would light up a room. The world has lost a true gent and I have lost a friend and colleague. My thoughts with all his family, friends and colleagues at this devastating time."

On Sunday, the North Yorkshire Police Dog Section changed its profile picture to an image of PC Atkinson and police dog Max.

They also posted an image of a blue candle with the message: "Today we lost a colleague, but more importantly our friend and brother in blue! Take care and look out for each other! Rest easy big man!"