Drug-guarding python seized

Italian police seized a rare albino python in Rome yesterday in a raid on a group of drug traffickers who used the snake to guard cocaine and intimidate customers who owed them money.

The 10ft-long reptile attacked police when they burst into the dealers' flat, where they were preparing the cocaine for distribution. The specialist forest police had to be called in to capture the python. "When we went in, we found the animal right behind the door waiting for us, just like a guard dog," said Lieutenant Luca Gelormino. The snake was starved to make it aggressive.

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