ILKLEY’S community police officer was targeted by angry pop fans after getting into a social media spat with former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson.

PC Sam Hollings, who took up his post as Ilkley's early intervention and prevention officer last year, has been a regular user of Twitter to get across local incidents and news, and on Friday he posted a tweet about a police raid on a suspected cannabis farm in Keighley.

But Tomlinson, 26, who is from Doncaster and formed one-fifth of the boy band One Direction before launching a solo career in 2016, took exception to the message.

He tweeted directly at PC Hollings: “Help me understand why individual police officers need their own Twitter? Surely as law enforcement you should be rising above ‘venting’ to your followers. All this does is cause arguments between people online and the police.

“I’m honestly looking for an answer to the question. Goes without saying the work the English police do is incredible but why the need for individual twitters?”

It’s not known what drew the pop star’s attention to PC Hollings’ tweet, but once the debate began dozens of “Directioners” joined in, so much so that the officer had to turn off his notifications because they were getting clogged up with Tomlinson’s supporters.

PC Hollings tweeted later: “Nice of Louis from 1D fame to take an interest today. Boy does he get a lot of likes and retweets. Had to switch notifications off so sorry if you have asked me something.”

PC Hollings has 414 followers on the social media site, while Tomlinson has 32.9 million. In response to Tomlinson’s criticism of him tweeting, PC Hollings tweeted: “Because engagement breaks down barriers, more often than not it lets people feel the police are the people, not just anonymous uniforms.”

However, the singer was not to be moved from his position that police officers shouldn’t be seen to commenting on incidents, adding: “Potentially, used in the correct form however gloating about who’s done what and who you’ve put away only creates a divide. I saw one photo of a cctv picture with an emoji over the suspects face. Doesn’t this create a certain tone?”

PC Hollings concluded the debate by saying: “Agreed. It's always about balance and people being people it's not always spot on. But I believe on balance there is more good than harm done. Or else I would not give it any time and we would not be furthering this discussion. Thanks Louis.”

The officer later posted an image of a helicopter upside down, spinning on its blades, and the comment: “It's a very strange day when pop stars argue for less free speech and the police argue for more…”