Two men were arrested last night in what the Met police are calling the biggest underground Premier League sticker-swap club bust in the State’s history. As part of Operation Yeboah officers have conducted a number of Super MSS (Mandatory Sticker Search) checkpoints across the country. The men were arrested when police noticed “their distinctive fidgety nature.” Speaking after the arrests, Detective Chief Superintendent Alaric Bonthron, heralded a “significant dent” in a criminal enterprise with an estimated value worth “well into the hundreds of pounds.” Both men are in their early thirties and are currently detained at Sutton Police station, a police spokesperson added.
At their nadir in the nineties, Premier League stickers were free to trade. After the Yeboah Scandal of 1996 however – when counterfeit stickers of Leeds United striker Tony Yeboah flooded the market – the Conservative government of the day moved to legislate. Now a Class B controlled substance, there is a destruction notice on all Premier League stickers. The then Secretary of State for the Home Department, Michael Howard, famously pledged to “fight the circulation of stickers on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and on the streets and hills.”
Since taking the helm as Home Secretary of State in the current coalition government, Theresa May has reiterated a no-nonsense approach to sticker crime: “I can promise you that we’ll come down like a ton of bricks on this sort of activity.” May recounts her own experience of the crime: “I say this as someone who’s been a victim in the past – in the nineties I unwittingly swapped Bryan McClair for a fake Nigel Winterburn. If there’s a stronger call to public service, I haven’t heard it.”