People are getting away with illegal behaviour in the city's public parks and gardens, according to an article in Leggo, one of Romes free daily papers.

It is prohibited to drive motorbikes in pedestrian areas, let dogs off their leash, tear off leaves, flowers and grass, climb trees, walk or place objects (such as blankets or picnic baskets) on certain grassy areas in parks and gardens. City authority regulations even forbid the latest trend in taking exotic, imported furry animals for walks in Rome's green areas. Disobeying these rules foresees fines ranging from 80-500.

However control checks to ensure that these rules are being followed are few and far between.

"We carry out spontaneous controls occasionally or if we receive phone calls from concerned parties," Rosaria Pappalardo from the police's environmental protection department told Leggo.

"On quieter days police can also go to the parks and gardens. The most frequent fines are made out to those who enter parks on motorbikes. But the others are hard to punish. If we take the case of dogs let loose, when we arrive the owners immediately tie them on a leash. We should have more regular patrols but we just don't have enough personnel."