Bernard Hogan-HoweThe Metropolitan police has launched its biggest-ever charity event in order to provide Christmas gifts to thousands of children in care across the capital.

The Christmas Tree Campaign will see decorated trees being placed outside police stations, from which it's hoped that members of the public will show their support by taking - and following instructions on - tagged 'gift-ribbons'.

Speaking of the campaign, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “This is a simple idea in the spirit of Christmas. A child in need can be helped by a simple gift from someone they have never met.

"That person gains no recognition other than knowing they have shown some care for a child that needs a little more love than most."

The start of the event was marked this week by the switching-on of Christmas lights outside New Scotland Yard by Hogan-Howe, alongside the winner of the Met's Christmas poster campaign, five-year old Harshita Ramanand.

According to the force, the Commissioner decided to launch the appeal after seeing a similar concept in Sheffield 30 years ago when he was a PC on the beat.