Debenhams bosses were said to be 'quietly triumphant' yesterday after it was announced that their company had retained the contract to provide more than 30 UK police forces with the blankets that police officers use to cover suspects' heads as they enter and leave court buildings.
Under pressure to make cost savings, police forces had reportedly been looking at alternatives to the familiar thick blanket, including cotton sheets, hessian sacks and stout brown paper bags. The Sainsbury's 'bag for life' had also been considered, but insiders say this might have prejudiced judges into delivering abnormally heavy sentences.
"In the end, it came down to a closely fought shoot-out between us and John Lewis," said Debenhams CEO Peter Wilson. "We are delighted that police procurement officers saw the benefits of warmth, comfort and complete anonymity provided by the single-size blanket in powder blue from our Slumberville range. We are proud to retain our position as the number one choice when it comes to covering the heads of Britain's most evil, sick and violent criminals. Sorry, suspects."
A spokesman for John Lewis said that in retrospect it was probably a mistake to base their pitch on the use of super-kingsize blankets. "The idea was for police to be able to ferry four or five suspects into court under the same blanket. Even if it hadn't saved money, it would have made for good television."