Police officers who shared photos of a team fry-up on Twitter have decided to take a step back from replying to comments on the social platform after criticism that their bangers and bacon might offend vegans.
The North Wales Police Rural Crime Team shared numerous photos of officers enjoying a cooked English breakfast, complete with sausages, bacon, eggs, toast and baked beans, on 18 December. One post read: "Not bad eh....not one egg broken..... let the team meeting begin!" Another declared them a "happy team" as a photo shared five men sitting with fry-ups on their laps.
Officers have posted other photos of cooked breakfasts, including one on Christmas Day with what looks like a glass of Bucks Fizz.
However, some comments appeared to be hostile, with one claiming the breakfast posts could offend vegetarians and vegans. Diana wrote: "Speaking as a taxpayer I'd prefer them to be less selective when answering questions and perhaps not post breakfast pics that offend vegetarian/vegan followers – pretty thoughtless considering the job title they have."
Another vegetarian's reply was more good-natured however, saying: "Veggie's nightmare lol we can eat the toast and beans :) lol."
A vegan later said: "As a taxpayer & a vegan I fully support you showing pictures of your breakfast - shows you're human!" And Nick Armitage added: "Take it on the chin and move on. I don't eat pork but not offended by it. You can't please everyone all the time but I'm very appreciative of the work you do and the way you communicate it. Happy new year guys."
The team have now said they will stop replying to questions and comments on the Twitter account, which has almost 15,000 followers, but insisted it is not just because of vegan crusaders.
A post on 30 December read: "Our account is putting ever increasing demands on the team, most of which is in our own time We have considered all options and from immediate effect we will cease responding to comments and questions until further notice. We will continue to post updates as and when."
The next day, another post shared a screenshot of Diana's offended post, saying they did it "to show why we are withdrawing from answering questions or comments".
Team manager Rob Taylor has since said it was "completely untrue" and "fake news" that they were halting interactions with the public on Twitter because vegans do not like their breakfasts.
He said it was simply overwhelming to respond when they receive 1.9 million interactions every month on Twitter, and that they would continue posting updates but stop answering questions from the public.
And a statement released on 5 January, the day after a photo of a cooked breakfast with meat conspicuously absent was posted on Twitter, said: "That was a pre Xmas breakfast I prepared for our team strategy meeting as a thank you to them..truth...and I didn't break one yoke! You have to laugh. We push on!"