Italian mafia orders ambulance drivers to stop using sirens because they disturb drug dealers who mistake them for police
- Mafia in Naples ordered medics to stop using sirens while driving ambulance
- They claim that the noises and flashing lights interrupt drug dealers’ business
- Drug-pushers are said to often mistake the sounds as the arrival of police cars
- Two gang members reportedly threatened to kill a driver for the blaring siren
Italian mafia has ordered ambulance drivers in Naples to stop using their sirens and flashing lights because they confuse drug-dealers.
In one reported incident on Saturday, two gang members stopped an ambulance and threatened to kill the driver for putting the siren on while travelling to an emergency in the southern city.
Local clans are said to dislike the blaring sirens and ambulance lights as they can disturb drug-pushers who mistake them for the arrival of police cars, interrupting their business and scaring off customers.
Italian mafia has ordered ambulance drivers in Naples to stop using their sirens and flashing lights because they confuse drug-dealers. In this file photo taken on November 11, an ambulance and health workers arrive near the Cotugno Hospital in Naples
The ambulance drivers in Naples are now demanding police protection from being harassed by the local mafia.
While travelling to an emergency in the city’s Spanish quarter, one medical worker was driving an ambulance with its siren on when the vehicle was flanked by two men riding a large motorbike, reported The Times.
They banged on the ambulance window and threatened to kill the driver.
‘Haven’t you understood you cannot use your siren here? Turn it off or we’ll shoot you,’ one of the men warned.
After the incident, the terrified medic was forced to call the police to escort him out of the neighbourhood safely.
Clans in Naples dislike ambulance sirens and lights because they disturb drug dealers who mistake them for the arrival of police car, interrupting their business
Similar have been reported in neighbourhoods across Naples, said Manuel Ruggiero, a 42-year-old emergency doctor and local head of Nessuno Tocchi Ippocrate, a group fighting violence against medical workers.
He told The Times: ‘We have already been ordered not to use sirens in other neighbourhoods, including Sanità and Traiano, where the locally based ambulance turns on its siren only after it leaves the area.’
Ambulance crews have also been assaulted by relatives of patients after they arrived on the scene too late to save them.
‘The same ambulance involved in the incident on Saturday was kicked, and the crew pushed, when they were not in time to save a cardiac arrest patient,’ the doctor added.
In the past three years, Naples has recorded 300 incidents of aggression towards medics as the local emergency service of 17 ambulances has been stretched too thinly for the one million residents.
Alessandro Amitrano, a local MP, urged the government to consider the fight against the clans from Naples’s mafia Camorra as a national priority.
He also called for extra protection for the ambulance drivers against the gang members who believe they are above the law.