Market Rasen’s Neighbourhood Policing team has been forced to apologise after wrongly accusing a legitimate company of conducting a scam.
The police released an alert on social media on Wednesday after a representative from the Nottinghamshire-based company Local Exposure Ltd visited businesses in the town to promote their Google Street View photography service.
The service allows potential customers to view the inside of a business as well as the outside on the Google service Street View.
However, the police quickly retracted the message they had posted on Twitter and subsequently published an apology the following day.
Market Rasen Police wrote on Facebook: “We would like to extend our apologies to Local Exposure Limited.
“Yesterday we incorrectly stated their Google-based Street View company was conducting a scam, however we would like to confirm this is a genuine company and we apologise for any loss of business they may have suffered as a result of this error.”
One Market Rasen business owner said her confidence in the local policing team had been ‘knocked’ as a result of the Twitter alert.
Jenny Brown, of the Ministry of Happiness soap shop, in Queen Street, said: “I had just invested nearly £250 in Local Exposure services – which is a lot of money for a small business like mine to invest in advertising – when I saw Market Rasen police’s alert.
“After I saw the alert I tried to get in contact with the local police but couldn’t get through, so I contacted Local Exposure to cancel my purchase.
“They assured me they were a legitimate company, but I took the police’s alert very seriously as, generally, they don’t put out many alerts of this nature.
“To me, it was the local police’s word against the company’s – and one assumes the local police has your best interests at heart – so I cancelled my payment.
“When it comes from the police, the alert carries a lot of weight.
“It has certainly knocked my confidence in social media posts from the police.”
A spokesman for Local Exposure said: “Someone got the wrong end of the stick and the matter was quickly resolved.
“We may have lost a couple of customers, but everything as far as we know is smoothed over.
“We have been assured that the policing team have changed their social media policy.”
○ Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam or someone may be trying to scam them should contact police on the 101 number.
Police declined to make any further comment about the incident.