Police in New Jersey are looking for a man they say was caught masturbating during a screening of The Emoji Movie at a cinema on opening day. The wanted man was reported by a mother who took her children to see the film at the Xscape Movie Theatre in Howell on Friday 28 July.

She said the man was sat alone in the back row of the auditorium with hands down his unzipped trousers while the critically panned family comedy played out on the big screen.

PIX 11 report that the man was escorted from the screening by management and asked to leave the premises.

The woman called the police later in the day and they now want to speak to the man in connection with the allegation that he pleasured himself over an array of sassy emoticons, including a bowel movement voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart.

Howell Police department now want the public's help in finding the man, who they describe as heavy-set and in his 20s or 30s. He was wearing black trousers and a white shirt at the cinema and had facial hair.

Police have released a CCTV image of the suspect in the hope that someone will recognise him and come forward. The Emoji Movie has been received poorly by reviewers and is rated at just 6% by aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

Lat week, the film's Twitter account tweeted out an image spoofing harrowing TV series The Handmaid's Tale, but quickly deleted it after an online backlash concerning the questionable taste of the joke.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect's identity is asked to call Detective Janet Benitez #627 at (732)938-4575 ext. 2885 or atjbenitez@howellpolice.org. The public can also provide the department tips anonymously through their tip line at http://www.p3tips.com.

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