Tourists caught leaving Rome with illegal souvenirs

There has been an increase in incidents of cobblestones and other Roman artefacts being detected in the luggage of departing tourists at the capital's Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, according to a report in Rome newspaper Il Messaggero. Some of the items appearing in the security x-rays include volcanic rock, ancient Roman mosaics and pieces of milestones. Authorities believe some of the fragments could be from the Colosseum while an expert confirmed that a mosaic found in a tourist's luggage originated from Ostia Antica, the ancient Roman port and archaeological site. Over the last six months ten people have been denounced for theft and received cautions but no arrests have been made. Head of Fiumicino’s frontier police Antonio Del Greco disclosed that many of those caught with illicit souvenirs are from northern Europe, travel on low cost airlines and are "of a certain age." Del Greco hopes that shame, rather than judicial proceedings, will be an effective deterrent for those considering smuggling chunks of Roman heritage home with them.