A police chief has been branded a “Grinch” for saying the tradition of putting presents under the Christmas tree should be axed – because it’s a “big advert” to criminals.
Superintendent Phil Baker, of Lincolnshire Police, also said people shouldn’t post pictures of gifts on social media or add snaps of themselves at Christmas parties in case thieves work out when they are out.
The gloomy warning came as the force launched it’s Christmas “Operation Rudolph” anti-crime campaign.
Supt Baker said: “It’s a big advert that underneath your Christmas tree are probably large items that cost an awful lot of money that you do not want to be able to open on Christmas morning.
“The impact on your family will be devastating.
“If you have young children and those presents get stolen and you are not in a position to be able to replace them, if you’ve not taken serial numbers, if you’ve not got receipts so you can contact your insurance, then ultimately that could be your Christmas ruined.”
The force’s advice has received a mixed response from people, with some branding the police “Christmas Grinches”.
One person wrote on Facebook: “Ok so, if you get burgled this Christmas it’s your own fault for putting presents under the tree?
“Lincolnshire Police should be renamed Grinch-onshire Police!”
Another said: “I can’t wait for the insurance companies to cotton on.
“I’m afraid the tradition of putting presents under your Christmas tree invalidates your home insurance claim. Merry Christmas!”
Meanwhile, some people said the advice was “common sense” and a “sign of the times”.
Lincoln resident and business owner Colin Howell, 50, said: “It’s common sense not to light up your front room like Aladdin’s Cave.
“It’s a shame but it’s a sign of the times.
“Crime is on the up and these scumbags don’t care about nicking your kid’s presents from under the tree.”
Supt Baker defended the advice, adding that criminals “loved the practice of putting gifts under the tree as much as you do”.
The police chief also warned people not to post pictures of themselves having festive fun on social media sites like Instagram and X, formerly Twitter.
He said: “You don’t know who is monitoring your social media site, and who knows where you live.”
The force’s Operation Rudolph campaign also advises people to keep lights on a timer to come on when they’re out.
Other tips include keeping the curtains closed when it gets dark to stop thieves peeking inside.
People are also advised not to publish their location on social media and not post pictures of high-value presents online.
The force also says people should jot down the serial numbers and keep receipts of expensive gifts.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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