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Car arson figures to be kept secret

Police banned from publishing number of torched cars on Bastille Day and New Year's Eve to limit 'unhealthy tradition'

15 July 2010

POLICE have been ordered to stop publishing the number of arson attacks on cars every Bastille Day and New Year's Eve in an attempt to limit the French public holiday tradition.

According to Le Figaro, the interior ministry says releasing the statistics serves no purpose other than to "give newspapers a headline".

It is believed that the figures draw attention to the crime and are used by arsonists as a target to try to beat.

Interior minister Brice Hortefeux said he wanted to "put a stop to this unhealthy tradition" of torching cars on July 13-14 and December 31 each year.

Many insurers refuse to cover the risk on these two nights and some departments ban the sale of fuel in cans.

Last year, almost 500 vehicles were burnt on the eve of Bastille Day and more than 1,100 on New Year's Eve.

Arson attacks excepted, Mr Hortefeux said the national holiday celebrations passed "without any major incident".

Photo: Timm Williams

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