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In an audacious recent New York raid, an opportunistic thief stole a heavy bucket of gold flakes worth over £1 million from a security van parked briefly on a busy city street. However, as investigators soon noted from the clear CCTV footage, the somewhat hapless robber struggled to carry the 39-kilogramme load – taking an hour to cover a distance that usually takes around ten minutes. The incident took place near the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan; the suspect is thought to have headed south to Florida with his cumbersome bucket of booty.

If the haplessness of the above criminal seemed somewhat humorous, the mean-spiritedness of the thieves who stole Christmas presents stored ready to give to critically ill London children certainly did not. Until their miserly theft, the 150 seasonally donated gifts were being temporarily kept in a disused ward in St. Mary’s Hospital. Unremittingly, even the donated Yuletide decorations and a Santa suit were stolen. Police are appealing for witnesses. The charity party that had been planned to brighten up the children’s stay in hospital has now resorted to a crowd funding appeal; it is hoped that youngsters with trauma, sepsis and meningitis in the paediatric intensive care unit will, after all, have an opportunity to see Father Christmas.

Lately, drug-related crime also seems to be highly organised. The latest criminal tendency appears to be for drug suppliers to peddle their wares to affluent drug users in upmarket and middle-class suburbs such as Canterbury. Other locations that appear to have been affected include Tunbridge Wells, Derby, Hastings and Scarborough, where even children at youth clubs have been caught up in such networks. In their dubious efforts to maximise profits and generate new addicts, gangs use train routes for convenience and vicious tactics to enforce debts. Some criminals are thought to coerce drug dependent users into letting them use their homes as a local base or staging post to support the illegal supply chain. Operating clandestinely from these or other locations, some dealers are thought to sell round the clock and to net as much as £2,000 a day.