He has become something of a social-media celebrity, after joyful videos of him finding specially-painted rocks have gone viral.
So earlier this month, the Blyth Neighbourhood Policing Team (BNPT) – having seen the touching footage online – decided to treat Chris Gent to a special present.
Spearheaded by PC Billy Mulligan and his team, the kind-hearted officers sent the 48-year-old, who has learning difficulties, a bundle of goodies, which included a BNPT painted rock.
The parcel, packaged in a police evidence bag and wrapped in police tape, also contained badges, epaulettes, a key ring and some chocolate coins.
Police officers hand-delivered the package to Chris at his Hadston home – and his reaction was brilliant!
Excitedly unwrapping his special rock, Chris shouted ‘Look at that, wow!’ followed by delighted cheers.
The heartwarming moment was filmed and the video was subsequently posted onto Northumbria Police’s Facebook page. It has been viewed more than 107,000 times, shared 430 times and has 3,100 reactions.
Chris’ carer and long-term friend, Wendy Baston, also from Hadston, said: “I would like to thank Billy and his team for doing this special package for Chris. It was lovely to see, they made him so happy.”
Chris has shot into the public eye after appearing in numerous videos on the Northumberland Rocks Facebook group.
The social-media page promotes a concept that originated in America and more recently has swept the region as the latest fun free game for people from all walks of life.
Players decorate rocks – acknowledging the Northumberland Rocks Facebook page – and then hide them for others to find.
Chris got involved a few months ago and videos of him discovering the hidden stones – frequently at Druridge Bay Country Park – and celebrating wildly have proved popular.
He said: “I love finding the rocks. I feel over the moon when I find them.”
Chris has become so popular, that people have been leaving rocks specifically for him to find. Blyth RNLI has also invited him to attend the station as a special guest.