19th October 07:17 PM
Sicily fire crew accused of causing fires for cash
By Lena Reece
Tuesday 08/08/2017
A wildfire rages in northeastern Sicily last month. Photo: AFP

Italian police have questioned 15 volunteer firefighters in southern Sicily accused of starting fires in order to get paid to put them out.

In the alleged fraud, the volunteers rang the emergency 115 number themselves or got friends or relatives to do it.

Their commander allegedly skipped shifts in order to start fires.

The team, in the Ragusa district, were each paid about 10 euros an hour.

They came under suspicion because they were called out more often than others.

The fires date back to 2013‑2015, and police decided to impose house arrest only on the commander ‑ not the others ‑ because the criminality was not recent.                           

Italian media report that most of the 15 volunteers have admitted committing fraud against the state.

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