A police force that used Nigeria and Colombia’s World Cup matches to tweet about drug dealing and scams has issued an apology for the posts.
Dozens of Twitter users complained after the respective countries were linked to organised crime, including “romance fraud”.
On Saturday, a post read “Colombia face Uruguay in the FIFA World Cup. To report drug dealing visit…”.
A similar message during Nigeria’s game against Argentina on Wednesday linked to a fraud advice site.
Two tweets with longer messages about crime in the respective countries were also sent.
One, with a photo of a football pitch as its background, linked drug dealing in Hertfordshire to Colombia.
“Colombia remains the world’s largest cocaine producer,” it read. “We need local people to help us build up a picture of drug misuse and drug dealing.”
The message for Nigeria said British tourists were “increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating in West Africa”.
It added: “The scams come in many forms (romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities) and can pose great financial risk to victims.”
The posts were deleted after a barrage of complaints.
Bukky Olawoyin, a former Conservative councillor for Welwyn Hatfield, tweeted: “I assume there has been a mistake somewhere. They won't intentionally aim to offend on a day of celebration.”
@HertsPolice your tweets about Colombia and Nigeria was so in bad taste. No matter the apologies the damage is irreversible. Shame on you.— Julian (@uwandulu) June 30, 2014
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police apologised to anyone who had been offended.
She added: “Our only aim was to give crime prevention advice about issues which may affect communities in Hertfordshire, having researched crime issues for the countries involved in the tournament.
“In order to prevent any further offence we have removed the posts.”