It’s the docile crime wave that’s rocking Manchester to its very core. In a series of compliant attacks, young professionals based in the Northern Quarter are having their digital toys ruthlessly snatched like candy-laden babies. They’ve fallen victim to a benign hug.
For a number of months a gang known as ‘The Hug Life Posse’ have been terrorising Manchester’s digital sector, targeting prosperous but unkempt digital types who boast high-end Apple gadgetry such as iPhones, iPads and iPods.
The Hug Life Posse wait patiently while their target gets smashed up on specialty ales such as Hobbit’s Brown Finger and Curly Wurly Edale. Stalking like tech-hungry cheetahs in the Serengeti, it’s only when their quarry has vacated the safety of its watering hole that the huggers begin their fatal attack with astute precision.
Working in pairs, one of the two huggers will distract their victim with light banter. The jovial prey is too jolly on grog to comprehend what’s happening. It’s then that the attackers deliver the fatal maneuver. Gradually, the assailant makes the, ‘give me a hug’, arms outstretched gesture. By now the victim believes he has built sufficient rapport with his attackers, and in a split second of misinterpreted camaraderie, he obliges the deadly hug.
It’s at this moment that a second assailant carefully rifles through the victim’s pockets, pilfering whatever he can find, drunk with lust like an Apple fanboy on launch day. If the prey becomes suspicious, the hugger will dazzle his victim with verses of a boozy sing-along favourites such as ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen.
Only smaller items are taken, however, a number of Hug Life victims describe the horror having woken up without keys, shoes and even limbs. One victim relives the terror having been targeted by two ferocious huggers one starless night: “It was terrifying. They took all my gizmos. One minute we’re hugging, singing ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, the next, they’re gone. They even took my Kindle. I’m not too bothered about that, though. It’s completely shit.”
Phil Henson of Greater Manchester Police said: “This Northern Quarter iPhone robbing spate reminds me of the great Chorlton-cum-Hardy pager thievery of the early 90s. It’s a vile and heinous crime spree that affects everyone in our fair city. What kind of world are we living in where you can’t even embrace a man without having your overpriced Apple products pinched? A shit one. That’s what kind.”
The police have several leads, and are appealing for witnesses or anyone who’s been a victim of a hugging to come forward. “We recommend that any close contact with strangers be avoided. No kissing, no hugging, no love making. We’ll crack this one, even if it’s the last thing we ever do in the history of policing. Ever.”