Burglars in Huddersfield are to get a Christmas card - from the police.
And the not-so-seasonal greeting will be accompanied by a tough message: “We’re watching you!”
The crackdown on known criminals is part of Operation Viper, the high-profile crime prevention campaign being run by West Yorkshire Police.
They have a hitlist of 50 convicted criminals across the region, including many in Kirklees and Calderdale, and plan to drop in over the next few days.
Officers will visit the criminals in each district to let them know that if they break the law over the festive season they risk spending Christmas or the New Year behind bars. Teams of officers will also pay regular ‘disruption visits’ to those offenders to keep them in check throughout the month and collect intelligence on their movements.
Once again, Christmas cards are being hand delivered with the bespoke reminder to criminals that they are being watched and will face serious consequences if they continue their life of crime.
Traditionally, burglary rates go up over the festive season as the darker nights make it more obvious when people are not at home. Thieves also know that people stock up on food and drink in the run up to Christmas and spend money on gifts. This is a great temptation for prolific burglars who don’t care about the consequences of ruining a family Christmas.
Supt Pat Casserly, who leads Viper, said: “We always take a hard line with burglary and are now seeing some big successes across the county. Since 2010/2011, domestic burglaries have been cut by 55% - a massive reduction that reflects a dedicated and targeted approach to limiting the activities of prolific offenders all year round.
“Despite these successes, we have no plans to take our foot off the pedal. This Christmas we are taking the fightback to some of West Yorkshire’s most prolific offenders and warning them once again that we know where they are and what they are up to. These cards make it crystal clear that we are watching them and are ready to take swift and robust action if they commit crimes this Christmas.
“Burglary is a cowardly crime but it’s not just an issue at Christmas. We will continue to drill the message home to West Yorkshire’s criminals that they will not get away with it and may well send the next festive season behind bars”.