Antoello Tropea: Paedophile priest 'who used Grindr to meet teenage boys' arrested in Italy

The 44-year-old claimed he was a physical education teacher when approached by police

An Italian priest has been arrested after allegedly meeting teenage boys through gay dating app Grindr, according to Italian media reports.

Priest Antoello Tropea was arrested after suspicions were raised when police reportedly discovered him in a car with a teenager in a secluded area.

The 44-year-old, who is the priest of a parish in Messignadi in southern Italy, is said to have claimed he was a physical education teacher when approached by police. He was apparently found with "suspicious items" in his bag.

Italian media also claims an Italian bishop allegedly told Tropea to avoid talking to the police.

According to La Repubblica newspaper, a two-month police investigation discovered the priest using the dating app under the name Nicola.

It also alleged the bishop had told Tropea to avoid the police and had shrugged off pervious rumours about him.

He was allegedly angry about an anonymous letter about Tropea and warned his charge to “avoid speaking to police.”