Northumbria Police have been openly mocked on Facebook after they posted an appeal for witnesses to the theft of a beach towel.
The appeal posted by Northumbria Police on Thursday, July 16, has received criticism from hundreds of people, asking if it was a joke.
The post also received over 1,000 shares with users complaining that Northumbria Police should be concentrating on “serious crimes”.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Well, what a reaction to our stolen Dryrobe towel appeal – we have received some interesting comments that we will learn from.
“As our communities should expect, we take all reports of crime seriously and victims are our main priority when we set about solving them.
“Indeed, the interest this current issue has generated demonstrates how effective social media can be in reaching large audiences very quickly.
“The appeal regarding the stolen towel was very much intended to be a local request for information so we didn’t expect quite so much interest from so far afield.
“We realise we seem to have kicked sand in our own face and so we may have to ride the wave on this one as we continue to try and find the best ways to use social media to generate interest and information to help solve crimes.”
A number of people mentioned personal attacks, thefts and anti-social behaviour they thought the force should deal with instead.
Within an hour, over 150 people had replied, calling it “ridiculous”, a “waste of time and money”, with one even asking if their site had been hacked.
The appeal read: “Police are appealing for witnesses following the theft of a towel from a North Tyneside beach.
“It happened on Sunday, July 12 from 4pm to 5pm at Tynemouth Longsands beach. A dark blue towel with ‘DRYROBE’ written on the front in red and white was stolen.”
One user, Curtis Taylor, wrote: “My property was broken into a month or so back and I had 2 bikes stolen and Northumbria police didn’t post in on Facebook.
“Yet a stolen beach towel is headline news? I really hope this is a joke, sort it out Northumbria police!”
A few comments tried to see the funny side of the post and replied accordingly.
Chris Evans noted that the culprits wanted “hanging out to dry!” and John McIntyre said he would “come clean”.
Words: Jennifer Tomlin