Tourist patrols

Tour groups are being offered armed police protection from bag-snatchers in the Italian port of Bari to try to woo visitors back to the city, Reuter reports from Rome. But some officials said the protection racket, unique in Italy, could scare off even more people.

'It's not very nice to say 'Come to Bari where armed police escorts will take you around the historic centre',' said Francesco Guarracino, a tourist board official.

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