Tributes were paid to police officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes today seven years on from their murder.

A service attended by their police colleagues and families was held at the memorial garden outside Hyde police station in Tameside, where both officers were based.

Messages of support for Greater Manchester Police flooded in throughout the day.

The 'brave and courageous' constables died in a gun and grenade attack after they were called out to a reported burglary at a house in Mottram in Longdendale on September 18, 2012.

Pc Hughes, 23, from Saddleworth, Oldham, had served with GMP for three years.

PC Fiona Bone (left) and PC Nicola Hughes

Police chiefs recalled her as 'a lovely friend and a great bobby' in a tribute at the time of her death.

Pc Bone, 32, lived in Sale with her partner. They were planning to marry.

"She was an excellent bobby, and cared about her job, and the community she served," then chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said.

The murders shocked the country and their funerals were held on consecutive days at Manchester Cathedral, with much of the city centre coming to a standstill.

Police colleagues and their families attended

GMP said today: "Today marks seven years since our colleagues, PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes, were tragically killed on duty.

"At 10.53am, we joined their families, colleagues and loved ones at Hyde police station to remember our brave officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

"They were 32 and 23 years old."

Flowers were left at the memorial garden and a minute's silence was held alongside a tribute from Chief Superintendent Neil Evans, Tameside's commander.

Staff at police stations across the force also paused in their memory.

The memorial at Hyde police station

The chairman of the Police Federation, John Apter, said: "They paid the ultimate sacrifice for doing their job.

"My thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues. They will never be forgotten."

And Mr Fahy, now retired, praised the work of their families since the tragedy.

He said on Twitter: "The families of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, police officers cruelly murdered this day in 2012, have done tremendous work to help the families of other officers who have died on duty.

Dale Cregan, then a fugitive who had already murdered two gangland rivals, dialled 999 to make the bogus report at the property on Abbey Gardens and lure officers in.

He then drove to hand himself in at the police station.

Cregan is now serving a whole life sentence for the murders of Pcs Bone and Hughes, and of father-and-son Mark and David Short in a separate attack, and will never be released from prison.