“This is the fifth one inside two weeks,” says Superintendent Howard Tremble as he surveys the scene of the latest so-called ‘Santa Slaying’ – a busy shopping street in central London. “This time the poor bugger was mown down in broad daylight, in front of hundreds of witnesses! Where is it going to end?” According to eyewitnesses the Santa – believed to be a forty-six year old father of three from Plumstead – was gunned down in a ‘sleigh-by’ attack as he collected money for charity. “There was no warning at all – everyone was just going about doing their Christmas shopping whilst this poor guy wandered down the street saying ‘Ho, ho, ho’ and ringing a bell,” recalls Rachel Sizzle, who had just left a local supermarket when the incident occurred. “Suddenly this Christmas music started – I think it was ‘Jingle Bells’ – and this horse-drawn sleigh came down the street. It was being driven by an elf, with Santa sat in back. As it drew level with the first Santa, the one in the sleigh pulled a sub-machine gun out of his sack and opened fire! The street Santa must have been hit a dozen or more times!” With the charity-collecting Father Christmas a bloody heap on the pavement, the sleigh vanished around the corner, it’s elf driver furiously whipping the horses.

“We found the sleigh abandoned a couple of miles away – both the horses were found nearby, shot through the head. They clearly didn’t want to leave any witnesses,” Tremble told The Sleaze. “This has all the hall marks of a professional hit, but there’s nothing in the background of the victim to suggest why anyone would have wanted him dead, let alone hired a professional hit man to do it.” Other than being dressed as Father Christmas, the policeman concedes, there is also nothing to link the victim with any of the other ‘Santa Slayings’ which have plagued the nation’s capital since the start of the Christmas season. “We’ve had twelve killings – every one of them different,” he explains. “We didn’t even begin to link them until the seventh – they were scattered all over London. Since then they’ve become more frequent and more vicious.” The ‘Santa Slayings’ have sparked press speculation of turf wars between rival Father Christmas gangs, or perhaps even a Santa-obsessed serial killer. “We’ve dismissed the turf war theory – the slayings would be more localised if this were the case,” reveals Superintendent Tremble. “The serial killer theory was our favoured hypothesis for a long time. We even had a psychological profile of the murderer drawn up by a top profiler – a social inadequate whose only sexual activity is to masturbate to ‘White Christmas’ and whose hatred of Santa is driven by the childhood trauma of having been molested in the grotto by Father Christmas.”

The serial killer theory was eventually, and reluctantly, dropped by the police when it became obvious that there was no consistency in the modus operandi being used in the killings. “We had one strangled with tinsel, another burned to death after a flaming Christmas pudding was thrown into his sleigh, a death by impaling on reindeer antlers,” Tremble recalls. “Moreover, not only did the methods vary, but it became apparent that more than one perpetrator had to be involved. In one slaying, for instance, the Santa was killed in his grotto by a visiting child – probably actually a dwarf – who beat him to death with a stocking full of oranges. In the next, in which a Santa visiting a hospital children’s ward was electrocuted with a defibrillator (apparently he lit up like a Christmas tree), witnesses described the killer as being over six feet tall and heavily bearded.” With the police apparently baffled, Simon Lumbago, Crime Correspondent for the Daily Excess has advanced his own theory regarding the ‘Santa Slayings’. “The clue to it all lies in one of the witness statements in the latest killing,” he told us from the paper’s newsroom, as he prepared his exclusive story on the killings. “One of the witnesses was a Polish electrician, fixing an illuminated shop sign, who realised the gunman wasn’t a rival Father Christmas, but rather his East European equivalent: Father Frost! It’s easy to mistake the two, as they are superficially similar – an association with the festive period, white beards, dressed in red – but Father Frost is far more sinister, often handing out punishments as well as presents.”

Lumbago’s forthcoming article will theorise that the slayings are part of a hostile takeover bid for Christmas, masterminded by the Russian Mafia. “It’s big business – the sort of thing they’d obviously want to get a slice of. What better way to muscle in on Christmas than to replace the current icon – Santa – with their own: Father Frost?” he says. “These slayings are characteristic of the way the Russian Mafia operate – taking over the rackets at street level by driving out the opposition. Believe me, by next Christmas nobody will dare to go out on the streets as Santa – you’ll have to hire one of their Father Frost outfits just to deliver presents to your own kids.” The journalist paints a grim picture of the future of Britain’s Christmases, with street corner Father Frosts being used to peddle drugs and prostitutes. “All those presents store Santas, or rather Father Frosts, hand out to kiddies will contain bottles of illegal vodka or wraps of cocaine,” he speculates. “The Russians will see it as an ideal opportunity to get them hooked early on.”

He points out that an attempted foreign takeover of Christmas is not without precedence. “Let’s not forget that business a few years ago in Bracknell, when Albanian gangs tried to take over the local Santa business from the Somali immigrants,” says Lumbago. “It all culminated with a vicious knife fight to the death between the two gang leaders, both dressed as Santa, in a children’s playground. The Albanian Father Christmas was left with his throat cut on the slide, whilst the Somali Santa –delirious with blood loss from multiple stab wounds – tried to make a getaway on the hobby horse. A lot of children were left very traumatised that Christmas.” For Tory backbencher Rannulph Cracknell Lumbago’s claims of a Russian Mafia takeover are another symptom of the continuing ‘war’ on the traditional British Christmas. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is what comes of lax policies on immigration,” declares the MP, to anyone who will listen. “It is clearly diluting our national identity, we’re not even allowed to have a proper Christian Christmas any more, we have to call it Winterval or some such nonsense so as not to offend non-Christian immigrants! Now even Father Christmas is being driven out by these East Europeans. It’s bad enough we’ve had to accept their bloody electricians, painters and builders, now we’re going to have their bloody Father Frost foisted on us!” Superintendent Tremble remains unconvinced by Lumbago’s theory. “We’re tending to the theory that it is a hate crime – that would explain the ferocity of the attacks,” he told us. “Currently we’re looking at the possibility of a gang of pagans trying to reclaim Yuletide by destroying the symbols of Christmas. It makes perfect sense.”