WILTSHIRE Police has been taken to task over a campaign to highlight wanted criminals after it pictured them in Christmas present-shaped boxes.

The police force has shared mugshots of wanted people every day in December as part of its 'Wanted This Winter' campaign.

But people following the force's Salisbury page on social media have expressed displeasure with its choice of photographs with some branding the campaign "tasteless and unprofessional".

A post shining a spotlight on Jennifer Todd, 33, who is currently wanted for a recall to prison, was met with a barrage of negativity after it was posted on Sunday, December 3.

Read more: ​Call Wiltshire Police if you see wanted woman Jennifer Todd

Another post asked people to call 999 immediately if they see Bobby Coombes, 39, as he failed to appear at Salisbury Magistrates Court on July 31.

One Salisbury resident publicly commented: "Some people really do have a warped sense of “humour”!? She’s a human who’s made a lot of mistakes and going through a lot of pain, and has been for some years.

"Her pain doesn’t excuse her actions, but hopefully will encourage a bit more compassion or even just silence from those who have nothing nice to say."

Salisbury Journal: Commenters on social media are not happy with Wiltshire Police's approach.Commenters on social media are not happy with Wiltshire Police's approach. (Image: Wiltshire Police)

Another commenter called upon Wiltshire Police to "focus energy on fixing all the important issues first", reminding the force it's still under special measures, before "trivialising matters for tasteless entertainment".

One man from Salisbury, also asked the police to "be a bit more professional" to which a woman batted back: "How is it inappropriate? They are always putting up wanted posters or do you know this person!"

"By working together with the public we can make Wiltshire and Swindon a safer place for all"

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said:  "Our annual Wanted this Winter Campaign highlights persistent offenders who are wanted for a variety of crimes, from driving offences to burglary, which blight our communities.

"We recognise that those featured in the campaign may feel uncomfortable with the publicity and we would encourage them to contact us at the first opportunity to help officers with their enquiries.

"In addition we understand that some of those featured may have complex needs and by engaging with us we can draw on the support of special services to further their rehabilitation.

"We welcome the support of the public in locating those offenders who are actively evading us, in order to protect the public.

"By working together with the public we can make Wiltshire and Swindon a safer place for all."