Police mop-up operation as Tynemouth towel thief pulls off seaside heist
Police have been mocked on social media after putting out an appeal for information about a stolen beach towel.
The crime occurred on Longsands beach, Tynemouth, North Tyneside between 4pm and 5pm on Sunday.
Northumbria Police said: "A dark blue towel with Dryrobe written on the front in red and white was stolen."
The force asked anyone with information about the stolen towel to call 101, "quoting reference number 43728L/15".
Anyone wishing to do so anonymously could ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, the force said.
The force put the appeal on its Facebook page, prompting a huge response with more than 1,000 "shares", over 300 "likes" and nearly 600 comments.
Beard Ian wrote: "It's what it leads to that worries me. It starts with a flannel, then a towel, then a bathmat. Next thing you know that's not enough - they need more. They'll start pilfering bedsheets off washing lines and dust sheets off decorators. Then it's heroin then murder.
"It's a slippery slope."
Joanne Turner said: "Is this a joke?"
And Lynn Harley wrote: "What a load of flannel."
The response to the towel theft appeal took Northumbria Police by surprise.
A spokesman 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."