It is no laughing matter. That is what police have to say about people getting their bits out in public as the number of indecent exposures in Merton have been revealed.

With Christmas right around the corner, police are asking people to think twice before relieving themselves in public.

"Some people may be unaware that even urinating in the street could be classified as exposure," Detective Chief Inspector Simon Dilkes from the Safeguarding strand of the South West Basic Command Unit said.

"So consider this a friendly reminder to use public lavatories rather than a side street if you are caught short during this festive season.”

This comes after a Freedom of Information request by the Wimbledon Times showed that 81 reports of 'exposure' in the borough had been made since the beginning of 2016.

Exposure means if someone has intentionally exposed his or her genitals, or they intend that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

But it isn't just the festive period when reports are made and Detective Inspector Dilkes said they take every complaint as seriously as the next.

“Whilst some people may be tempted to view the offence of exposure as harmless or humorous, our experience tells us that these offences can be distressing for the victims and can have a long term impact on them," he said.

"We take every report of exposure seriously and take measures to safeguard the public where we can.

"Depending on the circumstances, the penalties for exposure ranges from a fine to a custodial sentence."