Police bust tractor trafficking network

French police have swooped on a gang caught stealing expensive tractors from car dealers across France before selling them off in Romania.

Noisy, bulky and instantly recognizable, a tractor may seem a difficult object to steal. But a gang operating in France managed to steal around 50 of the vehicles, worth €5 million ($6.1 million), Le Figaro reports.

The thieves have been targeting isolated car dealers in the countryside since late 2010, police said. Striking at night, the farming machinery bandits broke into a series of padlocked car parks, stealing brand-new tractors and driving them onto a covered articulated truck before setting off.

Police investigators identified more than 25 raids on French car dealers.

The tractors, each worth between €70,000 and €300,000, were moved through Germany, Austria and Hungary, before they were sold in Romania.

"We were facing a very organized criminal operation," chief investigator Jean-Philippe Reiland told Le Figaro. "Investigations are still ongoing with local authorities."

On July 15th, four gang members were caught in the act and detained by the police. They were driving down a road in Brittany with three large tractors they had stolen in the town of Le Rheu, near Rennes.

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Bodies of two babies found in French freezer

Two newborn babies whose corpses were found in a woman's freezer in southern France did not die of natural causes, prosecutors said on Monday.

Bodies of two babies found in French freezer

 “The two children were not stillborn,” Florence Galtier, prosecutor in the southern town of Avignon, told AFP, citing an autopsy.

Their deaths were “not natural in origin”, she added, after the discovery at the home of a 41-year-old woman arrested last Thursday in the southern village of Bedoin.

The woman was charged Friday on suspicion of murder of two minors.

It is not known if she is the mother of the victims, both girls.

The autopsy showed one of the babies had suffered a blow leaving “cranial and intracranial” bruising, believed to be the cause of death.

Galtier said it was not clear if the injuries were the result of violence or a fall, a lack of care or something else.

She added it had also not been established if the girls were twins — or even unrelated.

Police received a telephone tip off from a man whose identity and potential connection to the case are also unclear.

France has known similar cases over the years.

Last March, a woman in her 30s was placed under investigation after two frozen babies were found at her home.

In 2015, five bodies were found in a similar case which saw the mother handed an eight-year jail term.

Another case which went down in French legal annals was that of Veronique Courjault, given an eight-year sentence in 2009 for killing three of her newborn children.

The bodies of two were discovered in a freezer in the home she shared with her husband in South Korea.