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Mayor plan to give tear gas to homes

Self-defence tool would save lives in tiny Charente village where gun violence is a growing concern, mayor says

THE MAYOR of a small Charente village wants to hand out tear gas to every home to stop residents turning to their guns to settle neighbourhood disputes.

Didier Jobit, mayor of Magnac-Lavalette-Villars and a former firefighter, fears it is only a matter of time before someone is killed in an armed row, as "everyone around here has a gun".

He has asked his local council to vote on the unusual measure on the grounds of self-defence after a 72-year-old pensioner was shot in the face by a masked man who had rung his doorbell demanding money.

A preventative tear gas canister at the entrance to each of the village's 300 homes would cost the mairie an estimated €2,000.

The préfet of the Charente, Ludovic Pacaud, said it would "unimaginable" for the mayor to go ahead with the plan and urged him to discuss with gendarmes how safety could be maintained.

He said if the council voted in favour of the measure, the prefecture had the legal power to scrap it.

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