Police seize 60 tonnes of Eiffel Tower souvenirs

Police in Paris seized a mammoth sixty tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers this week as part of an investigation into illegal street peddling in the city’s tourist hotspots.

Police seize 60 tonnes of Eiffel Tower souvenirs
File photo: VeZoul/Flickr

The massive stash of mini 'Iron ladies' was discovered in a warehouse in the Paris suburb of Bourget, police revealed on Thursday.

Police estimate that the objects, which were to be supplied to around 100 illegal street vendors in Paris, are worth a total of around €176,000.

Officers also seized €156,000 in bank notes and €20,000 in coins during the raid.

On Tuesday, police also arrested two suspects believed to be at the centre of the criminal network, a 41-year-old Chinese shop manager and her brother, aged 40.

Their shop, located in the 3rd Arrondissement of the French capital, supplied around 100 sellers with souvenirs, raking in profits of more than €500,000, far more than the shop’s declared income of €33,000.

A source close to the case told French daily Le Parisien that the raid was carried out as part of wider operation aimed at increasing security for the millions of tourists who visit the capital each summer. 

"This means trying to put a stop to the illegal sellers who pester tourists  around France's most famous attractions," the source said.

In April Paris’s police force also launched an operation called “Paris en toute sécurité” (“Safe Paris”) aimed at alerting tourists to the activities of illegal street peddlers in the city, TF1 television reported.

SEE ALSO : How to avoid the Paris Metro pickpockets 

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France vows to tackle motorbike ‘rodeos’ after children injured

The French government has pledged a new crackdown against illicit motorbike cruising by youths in suburbs across the country, after two children were seriously injured by a rider near Paris.

France vows to tackle motorbike 'rodeos' after children injured

The rowdy late-night races and stunts known as “rodeos” have become increasingly popular in particular in low-income neighbourhoods, leading to complaints about traffic and noise from local officials and many residents.

On Friday evening, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy were hit by a rider while playing tag outside their home in Pontoise, northwest of the capital.

French daily Le Figaro reported on Monday that the girl suffered a blow to the head and remained in serious condition in hospital, while the boy had a broken leg.

The accident came after a 19-year-old man was killed in June after being hit by a bike rider in the western city of Rennes.

“I have asked the police to step up their interventions this month,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in the southern city of Marseille.

Nonetheless the rodeos are often tolerated or defended as a gritty urban subculture that provides an outlet for disaffected youths, with an upcoming film, “Rodeo”, that appears to glorify the gatherings and  generated a strong buzz at the Cannes film festival last May.

Police have carried out 8,000 operations to break up rodeos in the past two months, leading to 1,200 arrests and the seizure of around 700 motorbikes and other vehicles including all-terrain “quads”.

In 2018, parliament passed a law increasing penalties for the riders to up to five years in prison.