THE body of a woman believed to be missing police sergeant Louise Gibson has been found in woodland near Great Kingshill, police have revealed tonight.

Officers said a walker discovered the body in Crook’s Wood to the north of the village at 3.55pm.

A formal identification has not yet taken place, but Thames Valley Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said his officers were “99 percent sure” it is the 43-year-old, who served the majority of her police career in High Wycombe.

The mother-of-three was last seen on Thursday night after leaving her parents’ home in the village.

She had been on police duty earlier that day.

Her disappearance sparked a huge search and rescue operation, as officers desperately attempted to locate their colleague.

Just hours before her mother’s body was found, Mrs Gibson’s eldest daughter Beth Pettit made an emotional appeal for her to return home to Macclesfield.

The 25-year-old told the Macclesfield Express: “Mum is a wonderful person and we are desperate to get her back home.

“We have no idea what happened and that makes it really difficult to deal with. There was no mental health issues and this is completely out of character.

“Mum always put everyone first. She was really well respected in her job and a great leader. She planned to take her inspector’s exam soon. We just want her back."

But Mrs Gibson’s children and policeman husband John, who is also based at High Wycombe police station, received the heartbreaking news of the walker’s discovery this afternoon.

ACC Shead said: “Louise’s family and colleagues have been informed. Her family, colleagues and everyone connected to TVP are extremely upset.

“It’s a sad day for Thames Valley Police but it is nothing compared to that of the family – our hearts go out to them.

“We are a close knit team – everyone is affected from her colleagues to the people out searching for her to the person who took the call today.

“TVP has a fine tradition of pulling together when times are hard and I’m sure we will do that over the coming days and support each other.”

The force added it was currently treating the death as “unexplained” and officers would be at the scene investigating over the coming days.

Wycombe LPA Commander Superintendent Ed McLean led the tributes to the horse-lover tonight. He called her a “popular and highly respected officer.”

Former Wycombe police chief, Chief Superintendent Gilbert Houalla, simply described her as “a star” on Twitter.

Shocked residents and police officers from around the country have also taken to social media to pay their respects to Mrs Gibson tonight.

This story was updated at 9.30pm. See the BFP website tomorrow for a full tribute story and updates.