Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fight Christmas

Police in London have described how they have broken up a vicious Santa-fighting ring. "This was a highly organised group of criminals who were arranging big-money fights between Santas," explains Chief Inspector Jim Bobbler of Scotland Yard's Seasonal Crimes Squad. "Tens of thousands of pounds a time were riding on the outcome of these cruel battles to the death." According to the Metropolitan Police, the gang would recruit itinerant Santas from the street, keeping them caged up for several days, systematically poking them with Christmas trees, whipping them with holly and burning them with Christmas lights so as to work them up into a fighting frenzy. The fights themselves - publicised via social networking sites and word of mouth - were held in empty warehouses and derelict factories, often with hundreds of baying spectators egging on their favoured Santa to kill his opponent. "The bare knuckle fights were bad enough, but the ones where they were allowed to use Christmas-themed weapons were the most disturbing," observes Bobbler, who sat through hundreds of hours of illicitly-filmed footage of fights during the course of the investigation. "Trust me, you don't want to see one white-bearded old man trying to strangle another with a string of tinsel. Or trying to stuff his opponent like a turkey. Truly shocking!"

Bobbler warns that, although this gang has been taken down, the problem of illegal Santa fighting persists. "It's a seasonal thing. From mid-November onwards the Santas start to appear, selling mangy Christmas trees on street corners, collecting for dubious charities and making personal appearances in shopping centres," he says. "The gangs usually lure them into their web of violence with the offer of a glass of milk and a couple of mince pies. If that doesn't work, the a handful of small change usually does the trick. The fights tend to reach a climax just before Christmas, when the Santas are still in plentiful supply. It lingers into early January, when there are still a few stray Santas about, desperate for work. But after that they're gearing up for the Easter season." Indeed, earlier this year Bobbler's squad were instrumental in breaking up an illegal Easter Bunny shoot in Kent. "This sort of thing really has to be stamped out," says the Chief Inspector. "There can be no place in a civilised society for this sort of cruel bloodsport which pits poor dumb seasonal characters against each other. Frankly, I blame things like the X-Factor for making people think that the exploitation for entertainment of the desperate and untalented is acceptable." The policeman warns that it isn't just seasonal characters that these gangs force into illegal fights. "Outside of the usual religious festivals, they've been known to organise contests between football mascots, and even fast-food icons," he claims. "Only last year we raided a big-money fight between Ronald MacDonald and Burger King - whilst the Ronald MacDonald was later successfully returned to the wild, the Burger King had to be put down as a result of his injuries." However, he doubts that the gangs were behind the recent spate of Boris Johnson-baiting in London. "We think that was simply down to gangs of disaffected youths," he says, rejecting press allegations that former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was masterminding these events.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home