This police department has created a 'badvent' calendar for wanted criminals

This police department has created a 'badvent' calendar for wanted criminals

There's something about advent calendars that I've always found to be distinctly disappointing. Oh sure, when you're a kid they're somewhat exciting, and I remember that it took a phenomenal amount of willpower not to break open the little cardboard flaps all at once and gorge myself on chocolate. I suppose it's a way to teach patience to little kids. But you only ever get a tiny piece of chocolate anyway. Even worse are the ones without any candy at all. Sorry to all the fans of advent calendars, but I just don't rate them.

However, this yuletide a police department is getting into the holiday spirit in style, with their own bizarre spin on the advent calendar tradition. Nowadays most police precincts have their own social media account; where they're able to provide live updates and public service announcements to their community. For the most part, they're fairly routine. But this morning, my good friend Sam informed me that my home borough of Lewisham in South London is home to a police department doing things a little different this Christmas. They have jazzed up their Twitter with their own bespoke advent calendar; one where the thing hiding behind each of the 25 boxes counting down to December 25 is a lot worse than some bland chocolates.

Yes, what makes the Lewisham Metropolitan Police Service's advent calendar special is that it's part wanted posters and displays leering mugshots of wanted criminals. If that doesn't impress you, then marvel at the name the police have chosen for this concept: a "Badvent Calendar." Ho ho ho, or should that be: "Po Po Po?" Each tweet contains an image of a wanted offender, who has managed to thus far elude justice, as well as a brief description of their name, age and the crime which they have been charged with. Even though today is December 11, only seven boxes have been opened thus far, although more are sure to follow as Christmas approaches. There are eighteen felons still to go folks. Tis' the season after all.

The seven men listed on Twitter so far include 30-year-old Louis Ruby on a charge of burglary, 30-year-old Harry Amis on charges of robbery and burglary, 48-year-old Desmond Mark, who is wanted on recall to prison, 27-year-old Jessie Clarke, who has committed multiple burglaries, Thomas Monagan, age 30, wanted on multiple charges of breaking and entering, 41-year-old John Ablett and 31-year-old Jamie Cochraine, who are both also wanted on recall to prison. Man, I hope the police don't mistake Santa Claus for a burglar and arrest him. After all, nobody's better at breaking and entering than old Saint Nick, and I don't think he has a license or a permit for that sleigh of his. Just think about all the sherry he drinks: he's definitely guilty of driving under the influence.

This isn't the first time a British police department has tried out something like this. Earlier this month the police department for the English county of Essex launched their own "Offender's Advent Calendar" to try to raise awareness of criminals at large in the community. Images, which have since been removed, were shared with followers on the Essex police constabulary's official Facebook page. The Essex PD began their crime-busting festivities by displaying an image of suspect Tiras Downie, aged 38, who was wanted on suspicion of breaching a court order and was last known to be living in Lambeth, south London.

Essex police Chief Inspector Richard Baxter defended the move, stating: "We have a number of people wanted in the west and want to highlight what offences they have committed and why they are wanted. They will have the opportunity to come forward but if they don’t we will continue our search for them. Public appeals for information have previously proved successful and we’ve chosen the Christmas period to highlight those who are wanted to appeal for help in catching them before Christmas."

Unfortunately, as silly as this initiative may seem, raising awareness of crime and its effects is sadly necessary over Christmas time. Previously, senior Crown Prosecution lawyer Nazir Afzal warned the British public about a crime spike in festive times, including domestic abuse, alcohol-fuelled public disorder, burglary and sexual assault, as well as an increase in rates of shoplifting, drink driving, car theft and fraud. Afzal stated: "Policing the home has now become a natural role of our police forces ... I love this time of year, my children love this time of the year, but I want to see more people living without fear."

So when you're making merry with friends and family this year, please remember to drink responsibly and to stay safe. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the men featured in this article then please visit Lewisham's council website or call 101 to contact the police over the phone.