Early Christmas card threats probed

It is a long-held complaint of many shoppers: Christmas appears to get earlier every year. The sight of stores decorated in tinsel and baubles, rocking to the strains of Jingle Bells in mid-August are apparently becoming all too frequent... in Yorkshire, anyway.

This week four shops in Leeds contacted the police after a group calling itself the “Movement for the Containment of Xmas” posted letters threatening attacks on their premises if they put Christmas cards on sale before 1 November. The letter says that any store-owners who fail to comply with the orders will have their door locks filled with glue – a fate that has already befallen one shop.

Clive Barker, the manager of an Oxfam shop in Headingley, said the letter was posted through his letterbox on Monday evening. “It is very odd. Every morning I wonder if I am going to be able to open up or will the lock be glued up. We are not going to take our cards down as we are a charity and we raise money for all the Oxfam projects. The cards are important for our fundraising.

“Like the rest of the High Street there are Christmas cards on display as early tasters. Four shops have been targeted and I just hope that nothing comes of it. The police say they are treating it very seriously and have taken the letter for fingerprints.”

The letter states: “This is a very polite but very serious reminder not to display Xmas cards until 1st Nov. We will put super glue into your locks if you do. Peace and goodwill.”

The lock of the door of the nearby mental health charity shop, Mind, has been glued. The manager said she was unable to unlock door on Monday morning. That afternoon a mystery man telephoned and claimed responsibility for the glue attack and said it was because the shop was selling Christmas cards “far too early”.

He said: “If we pass the shop and we see you are still selling Christmas cards we will glue the lock up until the cards are removed.” When asked why they had a problem with the cards sales, he replied: “There are a team of us that are against charity shops selling Christmas cards so early.”

The manager, who asked not to be named, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “This has made staff – mainly volunteers – feel very uneasy and we have alerted the police. We have removed our current Christmas cards sales display for the moment. This is great pity as we have been selling off last year’s stock and making £70 a week.”