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Police apologise over fire tweet linked to Hillsborough

Constable Curtis Ritchie posted: 'Have they started blaming the police yet????'

Blazing vehicles can be seen in the car park fire.
Blazing vehicles can be seen in the car park fire. PA

A police officer has apologised after a tweet he put out about the Liverpool car park fire was construed as a reference to the Hillsborough disaster.

The fire, which started in a car park next to the Liverpool Echo Arena on New Year's Eve, destroyed up to 1,600 cars.

Northumbria Police received complaints after Curtis Ritchie, a serving constable, posted a message saying: "Have they started blaming the police yet????"

Devastation caused by the blaze.
Devastation caused by the blaze. Merseyside Fire and Rescue

One person tweeted the force asking Mr Ritchie's bosses if they could "please ask PC Curtis Ritchie to elaborate on his recent comments to the people of Liverpool and particularly families of the 96?"

While another branded it a "disparaging remark about Scousers".

Northumbria Police would not name the officer involved in the Twitter row, but said he had apologised and called the comments "unacceptable".

A spokesperson said: "Northumbria Police does not condone the comments made by one of its officers on Twitter, it is clearly unacceptable.

"The force expects all its officers to uphold the highest levels of professionalism.

"The officer involved has expressed regret for any offence and upset caused and he has received management advice regarding his actions."

Mr Ritchie's Twitter account has now been set to private.

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