Police in Rome have been accused of tipping off the owners of restaurants and ice cream parlours to impending visits by health inspectors in return for bribes of gelato and plates of pasta.
Three officers from the city’s local police force are being investigated for turning a blind eye to irregularities and passing on information about hygiene controls that could have resulted in large fines.
In return, they were rewarded with scoops of gelato, plates of spaghetti alla carbonara and free meals.
“Be careful, they’re going to pay you a visit,” they told restaurant owners.
One officer received a free dinner at a well-known trattoria, with “the promise of two more.”
Another was able to enjoy ice cream from a gelateria near the Trevi Fountain whenever he liked.
The graft allegedly took place in some of Rome’s best-known tourist spots, from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps.