Police in Sussex launched a Valentine’s Day campaign to find criminals who had “stood them up”.
The campaign asks for the public to help the police “secure a date” for Valentine’s Day and help catch criminals.
Police wrote in the appeal: “All we wanted was to spend some quality time with people who’ve been trying to avoid us lately.
“Can you play cupid and help us secure a date with some of the county’s most wanted people? There’s every chance it will be back to our place for coffee!
“We will be appealing for those who have broken our hearts to meet us for the date they owe us.”
Among the list is Dean Mazirel, 33, from Worthing who is wanted on recall to prison.
Martin Bennett,37, from Brighton is wanted for failing to appear at court and Callum Gower,21, is wanted in connection with assault and drug offences.
The campaign has received a mixed response with critics arguing it was in “poor taste”.
One person wrote: “Actually it’s pathetic. We are being asked to pay more for police yet they have time to mock this up. Still not sure if it’s just a joke or its serious dressed up as a joke. Escape from prison isn’t funny.”
Another said: “I don’t think you should be making a joke about it”.
Other people applauded the police for its “hilarious” appeal.
Rach Lou wrote: “I personally love em! I even showed them to people they definitely (sic) work more than normal appeals.”
Another person wrote: “This is so funny and it makes people look.”
In response to the backlash, Sussex Police tweeted: “It didn’t take long to ‘mock this up’ and it will reach a lot more people than just a normal wanted person appeal.
“Our similar campaign last year reached millions and helped us arrest those we were looking for. Everything we do has an operational policing purpose.”
The Standard has reached out to Sussex Police for further comment.