Police send criminals a Christmas card . . .

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Crooks in Belper are being sent Christmas cards by police over the festive season warning them to stay away from crime.

Four-hundred postcards are being delivered to the addresses of known offenders in the town as well as the rest of Amber Valley, Chesterfield, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, asking people to think about where they want to spend the festive period.

On the front of the postcard is a picture of a man sat in a cell wearing a party hat with his head in his hands, with the question, “Where would you like to be for Christmas lunch?”

Turnover the card, and it carries the message, “Derbyshire Constabulary want our local communities to have a safe and crime-free Christmas. We will be spoiling Christmas for criminals. Make sure you are not on our Christmas list.”

There is also a list of contact numbers for local drugs and alcohol services, domestic abuse and Crimestoppers.

They are being sent out as part of Operation Impact, a long-term campaign set up by police to help reduce crime, including burglary, drug dealing and shoplifting.

Operation Impact was first started in July and has seen more than 240 people arrested, 64 search warrants carried out and two people convicted for burglary and drug offences.

The team estimate more than £15,000 worth of drugs and approximately £100,000 in counterfeit goods has been seized as part of the operation, and more than £30,000 has also been recovered in outstanding fines imposed by the courts.

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Dawson said: “Operation Impact is about helping to reduce the harm caused by crime within our communities, and during the festive period there may be more temptation to steal especially as most people are buying gifts and high value items.

“We hope these cards will warn offenders who are known to the police about the choice between staying out of trouble or facing a Christmas behind bars.”

Last week, the Belper News reported how shops in Belper were being warned to ramp-up security by Belper police after a series of break-ins around the town.

Police have also been handing out security advice and 300 crime prevention kits during a crime-busting event on Belper’s King Street on December 11.

Anyone with information about crime should contact Derbyshire Police on 101, the non emergency number, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.