London, Dec 22 (ANI): Italian authorities have beefed up security around the remains of St Nicholas, the saint who inspired Father Christmas, fearing that Mafia may try to steal it.
Police in Bari have received information that a Mafia crime gang is planning to nick relics from the tomb of the saint.
"Our police are watching the St Nicholas Church in our city every day," the Daily Star quoted Vincenzo Speranza, chief of police in Bari, as saying.
The cops have also installed a new 600,000 pounds security system with more than 100 CCTV cameras.
It is believed that the information has been uncovered following the arrests of people that saw a 40million pounds-a-year drugs ring busted.
Vatican officials have also pointed to a growing trade in stolen religious artefacts. Some relics are sold on the web for hundreds of pounds, while some can sell on the black market for thousands.
Most of the black market trade in such relics is now controlled by the Mafia as crime families increase their power amid the growing financial crisis. (ANI)