Echo's Advent calendar heralds new crime tactic

Calendar: Echo’s most-wanted

The Southern Daily Echo has mixed Christmas with crime fighting this year by publishing an Advent calendar featuring people wanted by the police.

Behind each window is a photograph of someone Hampshire Constabulary is trying to find, along with details of who they are and what they are wanted for. Readers are encouraged to call Crimestoppers if they know their whereabouts.

Since its launch on 1 December, four people have been caught and remanded in custody. A new window will be opened every day until Christmas Eve.

Echo editor Ian Murray explained the idea came from a regular meeting between the paper and local police to discuss crime-fighting initiatives.

He said: “We were looking for something more than the usual list of most wanted names and faces and someone came up with the proposal for an advent calendar. Hampshire Police were keen and so were we.”

The wanted list, compiled by the police, features offenders who have failed to appear before magistrates, escaped arrest, or breached court orders.

Murray added the idea was initially approached with caution, due to the traditional religious association of Advent calendars. But he said it had proved popular with readers who have congratulated the paper on its novel approach.

The Echo will publish updates about the campaign next year. Murray said: “After all, crime fighting isn’t just for Christmas”

By Laura Topham

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