A leading member of the Essex Police Domestic Crime Reduction Squad has been talking to Southend News Network about the dangers that are posed by the popular Elf On The Shelf craze.

According to Chief Supt. Lyn Tendant, who is based in Southend, the chances of a burglary are increased by more than 70% during December when you display an elf toy and take photos every day that are shared on Facebook.

She added: ‘We have noticed a worrying increase in the number of mums who are building comical scenes for their elves and then sharing them on Facebook to give inspiration to other mums in mum groups that are about being mums.’

‘What a lot of mums don’t realise is that all photos on Facebook include a geotag that gives anyone with basic software the precise location of your home where the image was taken.’

‘Therefore, any would-be thief can get an instant address of a house that will probably have a lot of expensive gifts ready for December 25th.’

‘We have also heard a lot of parents say that they are so tired every night after sorting out their elf that they forget to lock their front and back doors. Is it really worth taking the risk?’

‘When you buy an Elf On The Shelf, it is vital that you check to see if it has come from a reputable shop.’

‘In 2015, our colleagues in Trading Standards found an entire shipping container full of flammable toy elves at Tilbury Docks, and we even had reports of wild drunken behaviour all over Essex.’

‘A Ninky Nonk in Basildon was destroyed by a gang of Elves who discovered four wraps of Cocaine underneath a kitchen sink.’

We asked Supt. Tendant what steps parents could take to ensure that they carry out Elf On The Shelf safely, and her message was very clear.

She said: ‘The best thing that you can do with Elf On The Shelf is to keep the photos away from Facebook.’

‘Many people just take pictures from other people’s Facebook walls and share them as if they had made all of the effort, and this is the safest way to avoid your home being ransacked.’

‘Also, we would also suggest only buying the official Elf On The Shelf which is £29.99 in Waitrose. These all come with their own Enhanced DBS Certificate to prove that they have no outstanding criminal convictions.’

‘Alternatively, you could just stop being a f*****g sheep just to amuse your kids who will forget about it five minutes later when Paw Patrol comes on.’