Advice from Derbyshire police asking people not to share a post on social media about a man with a puppy acting suspiciously near to a school and shop sparked an online debate.
A woman contacted the police with concerns about a man who she believed had been acting suspiciously and who had allegedly approached children with the offer to sell them a puppy near to The Co-operative store on Hartington Road in Dronfield.
The woman posted photographs of the man’s car on Facebook, which was shared by others.
However, the distressed man and his family, who live in the area, contacted the police about the post, which was later removed.
Derbyshire police then advised people not to share the post and reassured residents that the force had no concerns about the man’s intentions on June 12.
Posting on the police Facebook page, one social media user asked the force to clarify what the man’s “intentions” were, to which they responded: “The gentleman in question was found not to be of any concern to the public; he was not targeting children. Unfortunately due to the nature of Facebook, rumours quickly escalated but any suggestion of untoward behaviour is unfounded.”
Other people hit back, saying they had a ‘right to know’ what he was allegedly doing, but others said there was no need go into details and the police said the information provided “should suffice”.
Andy Daniels wrote: “If he’s not approaching kids, why didn’t they say that? No concerns about his intentions? What were his intentions?”
And Kat Clarke posted: “I agree, as parents we want to know and need explanations to protect our children/grandchildren.”
Karen O’Donnell wrote: “No need to explain. The police have checked it out and that’s all people need to know.”