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Thieves armed with apparently venomous snakes are terrorising residents of a southern Nicaraguan town, the local press reported. Residents of Diriamba, 30 miles (50km) south of Managua, said the gang collected the poisonous rattlesnakes in nearby fields, removed their venom and then used them to rob their victims by threatening to have the snakes bite them, according to the newspaper El Nuevo Diario.

One girl, who would not give her name, said she passed out when she saw the snake's fangs. When she came to, her gold chains had been stolen. Reuter - Managua