MORE than a dozen suspected criminals have been arrested after being duped into ringing the police to claim free beer, as part of an undercover sting operation.
Derbyshire Police said the suspects were detained after officers sent letters to a string of people who had evaded arrest for several months, urging them to claim a complimentary crate of beer from a marketing company.
A total of 19 suspects wanted in connection with a range of offences -- including robbery, burglary and sexual assault -- fell for the hoax and called the number on the letters, which put them through to officers based at Chesterfield Police Station.
Police then arranged a time and date for the free alcohol to be dropped off, but instead arrested those awaiting the free beer.
Chief Inspector Graham McLaughlin, who led the operation, said: "It has been very cost-effective as it can take a lot of time and money to track people down.
"We use a variety of methods to arrest suspects and we will continue to use new tactics when necessary."