Police Constable Andre Owen of Sussex Police took to Twitter to share an experience he had while on duty during the day.
He wrote: "To the lady that scorned me for buying food on duty... I’ve not stopped since 07:05 this morning, not even for toilet break. I’m over 100 miles from my station and I’m due off in 45 mins.... with a two hour journey at least!!!! # policearehumantoo"
He accompanied the post with a photo of his Burger King meal. The tweet quickly garnered over 8,000 likes and 1,000 shares.
The 25-year-old has been with Sussex Police for five years. He told MirrorOnline that he had been extremely busy before the woman shamed him.
He said: "Five minutes after starting my shift, I was assigned to a serious job in Brighton. I dealt with that and then had to drive nonstop to Oxford as part of the same job, single crewed. Half an hour into the return journey, I stopped at a service station for my first toilet stop of the day! While there, I also got a double whopper meal, apple pie, Coke and a cappuccino."
Owen, who was feeling hungry and tired by the time he walked into the restaurant at 2 p.m., was still 100 miles from the station, and he had to get there after his shift ended at 3 p.m. to deal with a stack of paperwork.
"A lady eating her own food, kept staring at me whilst I waited," he said, "I collected the food and as I left she said something similar to ‘whilst you’re in here stuffing your face, there’s criminals that need catching out there.’ I smiled, and just walked away without saying a word. I put it on Twitter and the tweet gathered so much momentum with such positive support."
He explained that his tweet was not aimed to getting sympathy, but to inform the public about the harsh realities of being a cop.
He continued: "Lastly on route back I came across a broken down car on the M23. Although way off my patch, I stopped and assisted, stopping traffic so I could get the male, female and their children to safety behind the safety barrier. I then waited for recovery to pick them up, using my blue lights to provide protection to all around. It added another hour onto my already long day."
He revealed that he ended his shift at 7 p.m., almost 12 hours after he started the shift.
"Whilst it’s long, and the lady annoyed me at the time, I love my job and on the whole, wouldn’t change it for the world," Owen said.