Police have issued a warning against people posting “deeply upsetting and misleading” comments as the search for missing Co Armagh man Norman Prentice continues.
The 55-year-old from Portadown was reported missing on January 15, but was last seen a number of days before that.
Police are looking to utilise the full power of social media, however, the pitfalls associated with that have reared their ugly head.
A PSNI spokesperson said: “It’s come to our attention that some deeply upsetting and misleading comments are appearing on Facebook this evening (Thursday) in relation to the search for Norman Prentice.
“This is no doubt a reaction to search activity which has been going on in and around The Bann towpath area in recent days, but this evening moved to a more visible area.
“To be clear – at this stage Norman is still missing. Speculation and misleading comments on Facebook do nothing but heap yet more distress on the family who, by the way having spent a lot of the evening with them, are carrying themselves with unbelievable strength and dignity.
“If you have posted any speculative comments, please delete them. The family have been through enough since Norman went missing.
“Your support is appreciated by both us and the family, but it is important that our focus remains the same – getting Norman home.”
His family, including his elderly father, issued a tear-filled and heartbreaking appeal for his safe return last week.
Struggling to hold back her emotions, Norman’s daughter Maria appealed to him directly.
“I just want to say if my daddy is watching this and he is fine, just ring the police and let them know he’s fine,” she said.
“If he doesn’t want to be found he doesn’t have to say to the family, he just has to ring the police and tell them to take everything down and just let us know he’s okay.”