A police force has apologised after it appeared to joke about rape.
Merseyside Police was criticised after responding to a tweet sent to the force's official Twitter account following Everton's 6-2 victory over Sunderland.
A Twitter user wrote: "Hello. I'd like to report an incident of rape that occurred at Goodison Park, Liverpool, on November 1st at 3:00."
In response, Merseyside Police wrote: "Just to confirm there was no actual rape for me? Sunderland certainly got caught with their pants down though."
Minutes later the force responded to another Twitter user who tweeted: "I'd like to report an incident that's been going on for ages. Chelsea get raped every week, can you help?"
Merseyside Police responded: "Afraid not, it's not a criminal offence to lose week in, week out."
Following criticism from Twitter users, the force deleted the tweets nearly two hours after they were posted and issued an apology.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Merseyside Police said: "We would like to apologise for any offence caused by inappropriate tweets from the force account this afternoon.
"They do not reflect the strenuous efforts made by Merseyside Police to investigate serious sexual crimes and protect victims.
"An full investigation has been launched into the inappropriate use of the Merseyside Police Twitter account."