Scrooge police 'ban' Christmas carol singers because of stranger dangers | Mail Online
The sound of carol singers at the door at Christmas is as traditional as mince pies, mulled wine and roast turkey.
But one town could be dispiritingly silent this festive season after householders were urged to turn Scrooge and ban carollers.
Householders are being handed postcards that warn carol singers will not be welcome this Christmas because many residents are 'uncomfortable' with having groups of strangers at their doors.
The cards can then be affixed to windows and doors urging carol singers to ply their joyful hymns elsewhere.
The move in Penwortham in Lancashire has stunned residents and church leaders who say it goes against the message of Christmas.
Vicar of Preston, Father Timothy Lipscomb, said carol singers were part of the Christmas tradition and branded the postcards 'a terrible state of affairs'.
He said: 'I would hope that Preston people would continue to be traditional. It is a terrible state of affairs that people are terrified of answering their doors, so this is what they have to do.
'It is sad that people can't even accept that the reasons people might be doing this are conscientious and noble ones.'
One 78-year-old resident, who did not wish to be named, said: 'I received one of these cards through my letterbox and I was stunned.
'There are many Christmas traditions and singing carols is one of the best. If you don't want to spread a little festive cheer then you don't have to open the door.
'Also many carollers collect for worthwhile charities and they could suffer as a result of this mean-spirited action. I deplore it and think it is totally disgraceful. It is the opposite of what Christmas is meant to be about.'
Father Austin Griffin, parish priest at both St Teresa and St Mary Magdalen RC Churches in Penwortham said: 'I can understand why some people might be upset and I sympathise with that view. There is no way we would want people to feel uncomfortable.'
The notices, which carry a similar warning not to Trick or Treat, have been distributed by Neighbourhood Watch and the Safer Chorley and South Ribble Partnership.
But those in charge of the controversial scheme have defended the handing out of the postcards.
Inspector Richard Robertshaw of Lancashire Police said: 'Singing Christmas carols is a wonderful tradition which we encourage, as long as children are considerate.
'But while carol singers bring festive cheer to many, we must bear in mind there are residents who for a variety of genuine reasons, are not comfortable with having groups of people at their doors.'
He said: 'Similar cards were first used two years ago for Halloween, and they have been very effective.
'The scheme has been extended and I hope carol singers will be as co-operative and understanding as the trick-or-treaters have been. Of course the choice of whether to display the cards is down to each individual resident.'
The cards are available from community police teams and local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators.
They have also been left in public libraries and doctors' surgeries for people to pick up if they so wish.