Police faced a furious backlash after claiming they were too busy to fight crime - because of dealing with too many mental health issues.

Lewisham police posted on Twitter: "So busy dealing with the fallout from mental health issues and 'missing' people don't have time to fight crime."

News Shopper:

Users on social media blasted the tweet, which later deleted.

Andy Parmo said: "Someone's getting fired in the morning."

Another added: "I'm guessing you don't see that as your role but I would argue it is still important; recognising you do need support."

MORE: Lewisham police under fire for St Patrick's day tweet - what do you think?

The controversial tweet was posted shortly before midnight last Wednesday (August 30).

A Met spokesman said: “A tweet posted by @MPSLewisham at 23.56pm on August 30 was erroneous and did not reflect the values and work ethic of Lewisham borough or indeed the MPS.

“This is why it was removed. A new message has since been tweeted by @MPSLewisham.

“Every call matters to us. Dealing with vulnerable missing people and attending calls related to mental health issues is a vital part of everyday policing.”

Mental health calls to Scotland Yard have increased by a third in five years, the equivalent of 315 a day.