Coronavirus: Former police inspector who worked undercover during 1970s ...

Tributes have been paid to a former top police officer who went undercover during the times of the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry after her coronavirus-related death in a care home.

Joan Tait, formerly Scriven, who died aged 81, carved out an impressive career in the police force and rose rapidly through the ranks to become one of the country's first female police inspectors.

Sadly, Joan, who lived in Craghead, Durham, for two decades with her husband, John, died at the coronavirus-hit Stanley Park Care Home on April 16.

During her career as a police officer, she had spells in uniform and as a detective in vice, special crime, fraud, drugs squads, a murder investigation and undercover work, travelling to Holland in the search for missing paintings.

Former police inspector Joan Tait, who once went undercover as a prostitute to investigate the Yorkshire Ripper, has died of a COVID-19-related illness at a County Durham care home

Former police inspector Joan Tait, who once went undercover as a prostitute to investigate the Yorkshire Ripper, has died of a COVID-19-related illness at a County Durham care home

It was while she was undercover as a prostitute during the times they were investigating the Yorkshire Ripper cases that she found herself arrested in a mix-up.

Her sister Barbara Taylor said: 'She often worked undercover and often laughed at the time she was arrested whilst undercover as a prostitute following some serious attacks at the time.

'This was the time of the famous ripper. The officers did not recognise her or believe her. This was quickly sorted but there were some very stern words.'

Joan started her career in 1961 after spotting a recruitment campaign for the police and successfully joined the West Sussex Police Force, reaching the rank of Sergeant before transferring to Derby County and Borough Constabulary as an Inspector in 1970.

Barbara, 67, said: 'The road was, however, far from easy and Joan was stationed in Crawley in 1966 when she ended up looking after me at the age of 13 after both our parents died.

'She was 28, pursuing a highly active career in the police force and studying for promotion, as well as raising a turbulent teenager - an amazing achievement.

'Joan was 14 years older than me and brought me up from the age of 13, so was more a mum than a sister. Just imagine it! I often ask myself, what would have become of me without her?'

Formerly known as Joan Scriven before getting married, she rose up the ranks in the force and enjoyed rich success

Formerly known as Joan Scriven before getting married, she rose up the ranks in the force and enjoyed rich success

Just seven years later, at the age of 35, she received a top promotion.

Joan, who once took in three thugs single-handed, became the number two in the country's CID Special Crime Squad with the rank of

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