By Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017
© sasel77 / Getty Images

Around Christmastime, there’s the kind of “Bah Humbug!” sentiment that can be cured by the visit of a few ghosts, and then there’s the kind of horrible behavior that can completely ruin someone’s holiday. Stuffing dangerous batteries inside hollow chocolate Santas definitely goes beyond basic Scrooge-ery into the “criminal activity” department.

Just days before Christmas, British grocery chain Co-op announced it was recalling 165,000 hollow milk chocolate Santas from store shelves across the UK after confirming two separate reports from two separate stores of customers finding tiny, button-shaped lithium batteries inside the Santa-shaped candy. Though how the batteries found their way inside the hollow cavity of the chocolate was unknown, an investigation determined that this tampering was done on purpose. These kinds of small, circular batteries are a choking hazard for small children and can also reportedly cause severe internal bleeding.

In both cases, the batteries appeared to be added before the empty center of the chocolate was sealed; however, according to the Surry Comet, chocolate Santas such as these are typically run through a metal detector before leaving the factory, adding to the intrigue of the incidents. The two tampered Santas were found about 50 miles apart: one in Essex and one in Suffolk. Meanwhile, the chocolates themselves were reportedly made in Germany.

As of now, it appears no one was actually injured due to the tampering. But 165,000 chocolates is a lot of candy, meaning that plenty of young children probably had a Santa Claus taken from them Christmas morning. Even if the authorities never find the culprit behind this horrible act, I think it’s safe to say Santa himself will add this dude to the permanent naughty list.