POKEMON lovers and police are at loggerheads over Covid-19 rules and what counts as exercise during lockdown. 

The force took to social media after speaking to a number of adult men who were seen using the Pokemon Go app in Rochford – urging them to stay home instead. 

But since, the force has come under fire online and subsequently deleted the Facebook post after it began to gain flack worldwide. 

A thread on Reddit has received more than 600 comments, with the public debating whether playing the game – which involves walking and catching Pokemon through your phone – constitutes your daily exercise. 

Michelle Berwick, who commented on the Echo Facebook page, said: “We are allowed to go out to exercise once a day. 

“Not everyone is physically capable of jogging, cycling etc. So what if they are playing a game for that hour? They are still exercising, just with a phone in their hands.”

But Cheryl Roe, deputy leader of Rochford Council, defended Essex Police. 

She added: “There needs to be an all or nothing approach. The police are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

“If these people were genuinely unaware they are bending the rules then that’s fine, but if they are repeat offenders, they need to be told.”

The Facebook post from police said: “Our team have had cause to speak with a number of different men, aged 30 plus over the last week, who seemed to feel it is acceptable to attend certain public places within the district, to hunt Pokemon.

Honestly, yes, you did read that correctly.”

A spokesman from Essex Police, said: “We were called to concerns of people making non-essential journeys in the Rochford area last week.

“We issued a tweet to remind the public of government guidelines re non-essential travel.

“The tweet was issued in good faith but was later deleted to ensure the appropriate level of seriousness when sharing crucial partnership and safety messages about the pandemic.”