first_imgThe police Christmas hamper operation resulted in multiple arrests “One of those who fell for the sting said it was the best way he’d ever been arrested,” he said.“Another one said ‘you sly t——’ which I took as a seal of approval.” The police Christmas hamper operation resulted in multiple arrestsCredit:@syptweet/Twitter Det Chief Insp Lee Berry, who oversaw the operation, said it had been a great success and sent a message to those who had not yet been arrested that the police “know who they are and where they are”. He told the Telegraph: “The cost of sending out the cards was minimal compared to the time and money involved in sending officers to look at each address, when many would be old.“Around half of the 65 who responded have now been arrested, either when we targeted them on the doorstep or later through conventional tactics, and have already appeared in court.”Berry said one was remanded in custody and one sentenced to six months in prison while others were fined or had curfews issued.“Some of them were drink drivers who have been disqualified which is very good news for the public as Christmas approaches,” he added.“Collectively, those warrants have been outstanding for seven and a half years, which has a big impact on the victims of crime and is a big drain on resources.“We want these people to feel as uncomfortable as the victims of crime do when they wake up in the morning.”Berry said he had received positive feedback from the public as well as some from the criminals themselves. With Christmas rapidly approaching, detectives knew the offer of a free hamper packed full of luxury treats and several bottles of wine would prove difficult to turn down.Indeed, almost 70 suspected criminals fell for the ruse after South Yorkshire Police reeled them in with a false offer suggesting they had been selected to receive such a festive gift.Officers sent fake vouchers to the last-known addresses of more than 400 local suspects  wanted for crimes including burglary, drink-driving, drugs offences and harassment, asking them to phone in to arrange a delivery slot with fictitious firm Herald Hampers.The old-fashioned sting was deemed a great success after around 12 per cent of the suspects fell for the ruse and unknowingly got in touch with the police to let them know specifically when they would be home.Detectives managed to arrest 21 of them in two days, on Monday and Tuesday this week, after they confirmed their identity on the doorstep before being invited to step outside to the van to select their wines.Warrants had been issued for the arrest of the suspects, who had failed to appear at court, for crimes including cruelty to animals, possession of an imitation firearm and burglary.center_img Berry said he did not believe such a sting had ever previously been carried out by South Yorkshire although various versions of it had been tried by other forces over the years.The proliferation of social media meant time was of the essence because if word got out, the sting would have been scuppered.He said that they decided to go public with the details of the ruse in order to send a positive message to the public but insisted that they would be looking at equally innovative ways to catch suspects in the New Year. The police Christmas hamper operation resulted in multiple arrests The police Christmas hamper operation resulted in multiple arrests Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img

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