Limassol police have seized more than 2700 firecrackers and made 80 arrests in the past 20 days as they step up their efforts to combat juvenile delinquency in the run up to Easter.
Limassol police spokesman Ioannis Soteriades told the Cyprus News Agency that since April 3 when police set up a special team to deal with firecrackers and bonfires in the district, more than 100 young people aged 14 to 25 were checked — mainly near churches, 80 of whom were arrested.
In addition police have searched 30 houses and other premises as well as kiosks where more than 2700 firecrackers were seized.
Moreover, in cooperation with the Fire Service piles of wood collected by young people which have been deemed dangerous should they be used to light a bonfire have been removed.
Soteriades said that beyond dealing with juvenile delinquency police have stepped up their awareness campaign in schools, army camps and youth centres to inform young people about the dangers of using fire crackers.
Fire crackers are explosives in the hands of young people which have on several occasions led to serious injuries, he noted.
Police will continue their campaign, culminating on Easter Saturday outside the churches, he added.
The Orthodox Easter bonfires (lampratzia) or Burning of Judas is a ritual where an effigy of Judas is burned on the night of Easter Saturday.
But in some neighbourhoods it has turned into a competition among rival groups of young people seeking bragging rights on who can build the biggest bonfire, in some cases resorting to stealing wood from building sites and other locations in order to do so.