The police force from South Yorkshire used a ruse from The Simpsons to catch criminals, and it actually worked. Chief Wiggum must be so proud.
The ingenious con tricked wanted criminals into handing their location with the promise of a free Christmas hamper. Lol, no for real.
The covert operation was called “Operation Holly” and was launched with the intention of taking people to court over all kinds of offences including dangerous driving, burglary, harassment and drug offences.
The South Yorkshire Police sent fake Christmas cards as bait to people on their wanted list.
The cards notified them as the lucky winners of a free hamper.
The cards, which claimed to come from “Herald Hampers” offered the recipients a basket with bottles of wine, champagne, pudding and other Christmas treats.
“Bringing cheer at Christmas and memorable moments to your special occasions!” can be read in the artful card.
If the recipient wanted to collect the freebie from Herald Hampers, all they had to do was to book a delivery slot. It was that easy!
“It’s encouraging that our innovative approach has yielded positive results and we will continue to explore new avenues for apprehending those wanted, which impacts upon the victims of crime. Sending officers to addresses where wanted people no longer reside is also a drain on valuable police resources.” says on their official site Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Lee Berry, who supervised the operation.
Instead of being greeted with a basket of jolly Christmas goodies, those who gave their address away received the visit of a police officer who arrested the fortunate winner and packed him off to court.
Curiously, in just two days, – Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of December – “Operation Holly” racked up 21 arrests. Thanks to the success of this unusual plan many cases have been closed, some include driving disqualifications, a recall to prison, or fines.
One “lucky” hamper winner was also remanded into prison custody.
Hilariously, (well, not for the criminals who got caught of course) the creative plan is strikingly similar to a joke from The Simpsons.
In the episode named “Lisa the Sceptic” (season nine, episode eight) Chief Wiggum and the rest of the Springfield police force fool several Springfield thugs into entering a ‘police raffle’ believing they will receive a free motorboat.
Of course, Homer, who is wanted for unpaid parking tickets, falls for it, but what really enrages him is not get the boat.
Chief Berry says about his unusual crusade against crime, “Anyone who feels they are above the law might want to reconsider their stance. South Yorkshire Police will relentlessly pursue those who commit crime. If you commit crime in South Yorkshire we will come for you at any time, any place and in any guise to ensure we bring offenders to justice and keep our communities safe.”