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Beggars banned from Paris hot spots

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10:44 CET+01:00

Paris police have banned beggars from loitering in some of the city's busiest spots over the festive season.

Beggars will no longer be allowed at the Louvre and in the capital’s shopping district Haussmann. The Champs-Elysées has been a no-go zone for three months and police say they have have issued 300 fines to beggars caught in the act on Paris’s most prestigious street.

A police note obtained by Le Figaro, says most of the beggars are Romanian and belong to organised crime networks.

Authorities say they have decided to extend the ban on begging near the Louvre as crowds descend on the city centre to do their Christmas shopping. This ban will end in mid-January, whereas beggars will be banned from the Champs-Elysées until summer 2012.

On Monday, Interior Minister Claude Guéant said the bans were "useful", according to Le Parisien, and helped fight "Romanian petty crime".

Speaking in the Louvre district, Guéant said crime around that area was on the decrease for the first time in four years.

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