Rome

Tonnes of fireworks seized in pre-New Year's round-ups

Hundreds injured throughout Italy yearly during festivities

Tonnes of fireworks seized in pre-New Year's round-ups

Rome, December 31 - Italian police are continuing searches across the country for illegal and dangerous pyrotechnical devices in the lead-up to New Year's Eve celebrations that traditionally include fireworks and firecrackers, many of which cause injuries. Finance police in the southern Italian city of Lamezia Terme on Monday confiscated 144 kilograms of "highly explosive" illegal fireworks in the garage of a woman in a residential neighborhood. In the Sicilian city of Siracusa, 250 kilograms of fireworks originating from Russia and worth approximately 8,000 euros were found in a van and seized by police on Monday. Over half a ton of illegal fireworks have been confiscated in and around the southern city of Naples, where the passion for bringing in the new year with a bang is especially feted. Two men were arrested on Monday in Naples - Vincenzo Vitagliano, 28, and Natalino Fiengo, 35 - when police discovered 230 illegal fireworks they were carrying in the trunk of their car. Police confiscated 62 other fireworks during searches of Vitagliano and Fiengo's homes following their arrest. In the town Torre del Greco just north of Naples, police arrested a mechanic for allegedly hiding over 20 kilograms of illegal fireworks in his garage. In Qualiano near Naples a licensed fireworks vendor was cited by police for selling unauthorized items and in nearby Sant'Antimo police seized three sacks containing 250 firecrackers being sold on the roadside. Police also confiscated 16 kilograms of prohibited fireworks and cited three people in the town of San Giuseppe Vesuviano near Naples. New Year's celebrations with fireworks that ushered in 2012 left two men dead and 561 injured, including 76 children.

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