The 12 Strange but True, Crimes of Christmas

| Written by Jo Secker

Diane Calnan, Department Head of Fisher Meredith’s criminal team says it may be the ‘silly season’, but beware that your festive antics do not land you with a criminal record!

Strange, but true…

1. It is a criminal offence to take or kill a game bird on Christmas Day (the Game Act 1831).

2. It is illegal to eat mince pies or Christmas pudding on Christmas Day (An Ordinance for Abolishing of Festivals, 1647).

3. Everyone must attend church on Christmas Day on foot. Those arriving by car, bicycle or horse are committing an offence (the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act 1551).

4. All forms of sport on Christmas day are illegal, except for archery and leaping (the Unlawful Games Act 1541).

5. It is illegal to use a slide upon ice or snow in the street (the Town Police Clauses Act 1847).

6. It is an offence to eat any bird other than goose on Christmas day (Act passed by Queen Elizabeth I, 1588).

7. You cannot take your livestock to the pub this Christmas, as it is illegal to be drunk and in possession of a cow (Licensing Act 1872).

8. In Finland and Sweden the twelve days of Christmas are declared a time of civil peace by law, therefore a person committing crimes during this period would be liable to stricter sentences.

9. It is illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances (the Salmon Act 1986).

10. You are committing a criminal offence if you open someone else’s posted Christmas present (Postal Services Act 2000).

11. A pub landlord commits an offence if there is drunkenness or disorderly conduct on the premises (the Metropolitan Police Act 1839).

12. It is an offence to sing profane or obscene songs or ballads in the street (Town Police Clauses Act 1847)

Merry Christmas from the Fisher Meredith Crime department!