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Mystery man steals Christmas Presents Mystery man steals Christmas Presents

By our woman under the mistletoe, Mercedes Dannenberg
Police have issued a stern warning to the wealthy residents of Purley to be on the look out for a ruthless thief who is using the bonhomie of the festive season to steal Christmas presents and re-distribute them to the local poor

The man, who was last seen snatching an Apple iPod from the hands of a terrified fashion model as she double parked her open-topped Ferrari in Purley High Street, is thought to be behind a spate of recent chimney fires that have baffled Police since the thefts began two weeks ago.

Another victim is local magistrate, Lady Lucinda Beauchamp*, who took time out from crocheting Christmas willy-warmers for our brave lads in Iraq, to talk to Utterpants at her modest twenty-seven bedroom cottage in East Purley. "One minute I was wrapping a toy rabbit for my niece and the next thing I knew the chimney caught fire and a dreadfully smelly old hippy leapt out of the grate, pinned me to the carpet and made orf with Tamara's present," sobbed the sixty-three-year-old spinster. "That bloody toy cost me eighty-seven pounds and I had to pay extra for the batteries. The horrible oik even had the temerity to ask for the receipt so he could reclaim the VAT!"

Lady Beauchamp is one of dozens of well-to-do residents of this sleepy English town who have been targeted by the mystery man in what Police are calling 'a well-orchestrated thieving spree by an urban terrorist hell bent on revolution.'
Purley's poorer residents view the thief in a rather different light, claiming that the robbing hood is performing a valuable public service in re-distributing wealth to the needy at a time of the year when they need it the most.
"Look at little Kelly's face and then tell me this man is a criminal," gushed nineteen-year-old single mother of eight, Sharon Slater, tearfully. "Why should I 'ave to make do wiv givin' 'er an' 'er sisters snickers again like last Christmas, when all the rich kids is gettin' iPods an' 'arry Potter brooms?"

We asked the officer leading the investigation, Inspector Colin Plodder, if he had a description of the perpetrator of these thefts.
"We think 'e’s of medium height; stocky build, aged around fifty-five, or could be younger—say in his forties, or possibly thirties. Then again he could be a fat teenager or a very fit pensioner."
"You don't sound too sure, inspector?"

"Well...it's 'ard to be dogmatic..." Inspector Plodder replied, rubbing his chin. "It's the beard, y'see. A beard tends to age a man's face somethin' terrible. I grew a short goatee once, but the missus mistook me for me eighty-year-old dad so often I 'ad to shave it off. I mean, I wasn't getting any y'see, on account of the fact that she—"
"—You didn't mention a beard, inspector," we interrupted.
"Didn't I? Well, er, I should've. All the eyewitnesses' reports agree that the man 'ad a full length beard." The policeman shuffled through his notes. "White and luxuriant' one woman described it as. 'Fake-looking,' said another."
"Anything else? we asked.
"Apart from the red jacket, black, fur lined boots and furry, red hat, you mean?"

"You've just described Father Christmas to a 'T', Inspector."
"Father Christmas? 'ave I really? Well I'll be blowed. So he does exist after all! That would explain the spate of chimney fires then."
"No doubt, officer," we agreed. "And the reindeer droppings in the High street."
"Ah—we did wonder what those were..."

Author's note: *Beauchamp is pronouced 'Beecham'

Hungry for more Festive fun? Read why Santa is coming twice this year
and why Stores are sacking Santas

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