Video report by ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar
Actor David Schwimmer has responded to hilarious claims that a police issued appeal for an alleged thief bore an uncanny resemblance to his character in US sitcom Friends.
Police in Blackpool posted on Facebook asking for witnesses to identify a suspect pictured leaving a restaurant in the town carrying what appeared to be a crate of cans.
Joining in with the discussion on social media, Schwimmer posted a video of him recreating the police's image.
"Officers, I swear it wasn't me. As you can see, I was in New York. To the hardworking Blackpool Police, good luck with the investigation. #itwasntme," he wrote.
Lancashire Police responded to Schwimmer via its Twitter account, saying "Thanks for being there for us", before adding the hashtag #appreciatethesupport.
The alleged theft happened on September 20, the police's original post said.
Facebook users had quickly piled into the comments section, pointing out the suspect’s likeness to Schwimmer’s character Ross Geller in well-loved US sitcom Friends.
Following numerous responses, Lancashire Constabulary replied: “Thank you to everyone for your speedy responses.
“We have investigated this matter thoroughly and have confirmed that David Schwimmer was in America on this date.
“We’re so sorry it has to be this way.”
A Facebook user, referencing the Friends theme song, replied: “I don’t think it’s been this guy’s day, his week, his month or even his year…..”
Another, referencing a Friends episode where Ross says he is an expert in self-defence, wrote: “Please approach with caution. He is known to have studied Karate and we believe he has mastered the art of Unagi, the state of total awareness.”
Anyone with information on the alleged crime can contact firstname.lastname@example.org