There was sadness after a homeless man – often spotted in Luton with his two Akita dogs – died from a drug overdose.
Ex-Royal Navy officer Gavin Lockyer, 40, was banned from Luton town centre in November last year after Bedfordshire Police applied to magistrates for a criminal behaviour order against him – claiming he was “posing” as homeless.
In the early hours of April 23, PC Peter Osborne found Gavin collapsed behind a doctor’s surgery in Southwark, London. Beside him were his two Akita dogs named Rolex and Spike.
Friend Jackie Porter said: “Gavin was a lovely, kind, genuine man and he took in the dogs to save them from being put down. He’d had a lot of love from the people of Luton.
“I used to see old ladies going into the pound shop and they’d come out with dog food
“He never had any help, it makes me so angry.”
After Gavin collapsed, PC Osborne and other officers asked him if he was able to get up, but he could not, so they helped him to stand then called an ambulance.
A Met Police spokesman said: “He was distressed to be taken away from his dogs, but PC Osborne was insistent that he needed to go to hospital and get the right treatment.
Concerned for their wellbeing, the officer took Rolex and Spike to the RSPCA where they were given an emergency space. PC Osborne then called the hospital a few days later to check on Gavin, who was missing his loyal companions. One of the last things PC Osborne said to him was that he’d make sure the dogs were looked after.
PC Osborne said: “He said they were all he had, he was all they had.”
Sadly, whilst the dogs waited patiently for Gavin to recover, he discharged himself from hospital and soon afterwards died of a drug overdose.
PC Osborne has gone out of his way to make sure the dogs have been taken care of but the Met Police have been unable to find anyone who will claim Rolex and Spike.
This week they are due to be moved to Southwark Council kennels, where, if after seven days no one has offered them a new home, it is likely they will be put down.
The Met Police spokesman added: “Rolex and Spike are about eight years old and both male. Considering they’ve been living on the streets for a while they are healthy, friendly and have been well looked after by their late owner.
“Alongside his regular duties, PC Osborne is in the process of contacting numerous animal charities and dog shelters and hopes that Rolex and Spike will soon find a new place to live.”
In 2012, Luton Today reported that Mr Lockyer was sleeping in a cemetery after council officers allegedly refused to grant him accommodation due to his refusal to part with his dogs. A fundraiser was also organised for him by friends last year.
Gavin previously served in the Royal Navy for five years. Friend Sharon Moore often spotted him in Luton.
She said: “I hope someone can take in the dogs and give them a home together, it is very sad news.
“A lot of people in Luton knew him and helped him, he was a very nice man, very polite and pleasant.
“I would often see him sitting outside Primark with his dogs. I contacted the council about getting help for him but he refused help and placements because he refused to give up the dogs.
“I hope nothing like this happens again, it is very sad.