A woman received a torrent of online abuse after she and her husband used duct tape to tape their baby granddaughter’s mouth shut and posed her in a roasting tray with some potatoes for a joke.

The baby was posed with some potatoes in a roasting tray

The baby was posed with some potatoes in a roasting tray

Jackie Sheaks thought the joke would make for some amusing photos, but she discovered that the authorities took a dim view of her sense of humour when she was visited by the police. Speaking to a local news agency in Columbus, Ohio, Mrs Sheaks said: “It started as just a joke; we put a little tape on the pacifier because we were being silly. What we think is funny other people don’t. It will never happen again. It’s definitely taught us a lesson.”

Since they posted the pictures online, the couple have become a target for online abuse and hate-mail, but they have defended themselves, saying they would never harm their granddaughter. Mrs Sheaks said: “It’s been a big toll on the family, we almost feel like we have to relocate.”

Although the child’s mother has not been identified, she has said that she has “no problem” with the photographs.