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MONDO EUROPE: Agony for French police as ‘ecstasy’ is really sweets

A large quantity of suspected MDMA and ecstasy, seized by police in Paris, that turned out to be Haribo strawberry sweets - Credit: Twitter/@prefpolice

Another look at the continent’s weirdest stories, selected by Steve Anglesey.

Paris police who boasted about busting a 1.2million euro (£1.03million) haul of MDMA and ecstasy turned out to have seized Haribo sweets instead.

The gendarmes wrote on Twitter that after a “fruitful investigation” they had found a “large quantity of drugs to be sold at secret parties”.

The accompanying photo showed small pink lozenges, which when tested were found to be the American company’s strawberry-flavoured sweets Tagada, which are not sold in the UK. A bowl of pink powder was just crushed-up sweets.


A seven-year-old girl was left at a petrol station in Malaga when her father drove off not realising she had got out of the car.

The man drove for three kilometres (1.86 miles) down the AP-46 motorway before noticing she was missing but then had to wait for the next roundabout before he could return for her.

Police who found the girl sobbing uncontrollably said the incident was even more remarkable as her 14-year-old brother had also been in the car. A spokesman said: “On occasion, we have received calls about a left-behind pet or suitcase but never a seven-year-old girl.”

The spokesman added that the “monumental oversight” would feature prominently in his memoirs.


German football is at the centre of a sexism row after Borussia Mönchengladbach’s youth team manager was ordered to coach the club’s women’s team as a punishment for verbally abusing two female officials.

Heiko Vogel was found guilty of telling Vanessa Arlt and Nadine Westerhoff “women have no place on the football field” after a match in January. He was fined €1,500 (£1,292), banned for two league games and also ordered to take charge of six training sessions of a women’s or girls’ team before June 30.

Germany captain and Wolfsburg forward Alexandra Popp wrote on Instagram that the ruling “discriminates against all women in sport… The question arises as to how the training of a women’s or girls’ team can be defined as punishment.”


A 103-year-old from the Italian coastal city of Formia had had a heart pacemaker fitted “so I can go even faster on my exercise bike.”

Aldo Spagnolis, who turns 104 in November, said his first-ever operation became necessary “when my heart started to throw tantrums, and not out of love.”


Nurse Eleonore Goedert owns so many dolls – 2,000 in total – that she has had to rent them their own 10-room house.

The 63-year-old, who lives around the corner in a flat, says she has spent over 100,000 euros (£86,000) on her collection, which she began in 1971.

Eleonore, from Koblenz, visits her dolls every day but says there are so many of them she never gives her dolls a name – just a number.


A woman who had just flown into Dublin from Spain led 20 Garda cars and a police helicopter on a high-speed motorway chase from the city’s airport while trying to avoid a fine for inessential travel.

Gemma Greene, 24, faces dangerous driving charges after the pursuit, which she live-streamed on social media.

During the video, she could be seen singing to music and, at one point, throwing a can of deodorant out of the window in the direction of the police.

Hungary now has 15,000 ‘magnetic anglers’ after a craze for fishing metal objects out of rivers and canals took off.
Workmates Erik Kovács and Dávid Vinczellér, who have given up their jobs to pursue the pastime, say their haul has included 30 bicycles and several safes, which they believe have been dumped after robberies. Kovács said: “We take out knives, cell phones or some kind of war relic out on a regular basis. One safe comes out about every three months, and two pistols have been caught so far.”
The pair says that about 70% of what they catch has a resale value, and they are able to keep it all as there is no legal regulation on magnetic fishing, with the activity is officially considered rubbish collection.


A drink-driver in Salzburg’s Elizabeth suburb was picked up after parking his car in the middle of the road.

Police said the 24-year-old had already been banned from driving, was in an untaxed and defective vehicle and was also under the influence of drugs.

Questions have been asked in the Luxembourg parliament after the country’s airline Luxair stopped serving local sparkling wine on its flights.

The row, dubbed Crémantgate, was sparked when the tipple was replaced by French champagne as a cost-cutting measure.

Transport minister François Bausch and agriculture secretary Romain Schneider told MPs that even though the state owns a stake in Luxair, the company’s independence means the government is powerless to intervene.


A homeless man whose unblurred face was used in a Paris Match article about crack users on the Metro has received 40,000 euros in compensation.

The man, named only as Felix, took the magazine to court using strict French privacy laws that stop information on a person’s private life from being published without their express permission. He hopes to use the money to be reunited with his wife and children.

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