French police seize 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers

Souvenir sellers hawking Eiffel Tower trinkets and keychains are a common sight at tourist hotspots in Paris

French police have seized 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers as part of a crackdown on the souvenirs which are offered illegally to tourists at visitor hotspots around Paris, security sources told AFP.

The small metal trinkets are sold for as little as five for one euro at places such as the Louvre museum or outside the real Eiffel Tower, usually by African migrants who play a game of cat-and-mouse with police.

A joint investigation involving French immigration authorities led to raids on three Chinese wholesalers who are suspected of importing the towers and supplying a network of vendors in Paris.

More than 1,000 boxes, containing in total 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers, were seized from two depots and three shops in the Paris region on Monday and Tuesday, a security source told AFP, confirming a report in Le Parisien newspaper.

Nine people have been arrested.