A senior police officer in Essex is warning parents to be ‘extra careful’ when installing an ‘Elf On The Shelf’ to keep their children entertained over the festive period – they have been responsible for 86 reported burglaries in the county since December 1st.
Executive Police Constable Martin Broom spoke to a Southend News Network reporter to try and get the message out to as many Essex parents as possible. He said, ‘Like so many other trends that appear on Social Media, people just seem to follow them blindly without giving a moment’s thought to the consequences of their actions. We keep hearing the same story over and over again where parents install an Elf On The Shelf for the benefit of their children, and then head off to bed full of wonder about what they will wake up to in the morning. Unfortunately, a number of these elves are then befriended by local gang leaders, and the homeowners get out of bed in the morning to find that all of their prized possessions have been stolen.’
He continued, ‘It is a sad fact of life that many of these elves are also trying to fund an expensive drugs or alcohol habit, and the temptation to turn to a life of crime by being left alone in a house full of expensive items is usually too great to ignore.’
Kerry Plasma, a mum of seven from Ashingdon, spoke to one of our reporters about how one of these innocent shelf toys ruined her entire Christmas. ‘I wanted my kids to wake up every morning to a lovely little surprise from my Elf On The Shelf, but on day three we went downstairs and every room had been emptied – the 78″ flatscreen TV with it’s back to the lounge window with the curtains that don’t close was gone as well. Home security is a big deal for me and I am always really careful, so this has all come as a bit of a shock.’
FIVE WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN INSTALLING AN ELF ON THE SHELF:
- A nervous tick or shuffling may indicate a substance abuse habit
- Receives phone calls and text messages at unsociable hours
- Swears at children when they get too close
- Stains on clothing
- Constantly jumping off the shelf to visit the toilet for long periods
IF YOU ELF STARTS SHOWING ANY OF THE ABOVE SIGNS, YOU ARE ADVISE TO LEAVE YOUR PROPERTY IMMEDIATELY AND DIAL 999.
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