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Town ups fines for Clooney gawkers

Linger too long near George Clooney's Italian villa in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the actor-director and his new bride and you might pay dearly.

The town of Laglio, where Clooney bought an 18th-century mansion with private dock on Lake Como a dozen years ago, has hiked fines for those who create "problems of public order" when gathering to gawk on the main road behind the villa or approach by boat closer than 100 metres offshore.

Mayor Roberto Pozzi said he signed ordinances last week introducing fines as stiff as 500 euro (£365), five times higher than before.

The twin ordinances - one to discourage land-based out-of-town gawkers, the other for boat-based voyeurs - run through to September 30, covering the spring-summer period when Clooney usually stays in Laglio, at the base of forested foothills stretching towards the Alps.

Clooney married London-based human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in September in Venice.

"We haven't seen him since he got married," Mr Pozzi said. "We'll see if he comes in his usual period."

Mr Pozzi said so far "common sense" has prevailed and no one has been fined.

The ordinances, posted around town, "aren't aimed at repression", said the mayor. "If a tourist wants to come by the villa and take a photo, that's OK."

Instead, by raising fines, the town wants to discourage what he called "knots of people" from gathering and lingering, posing traffic dangers on the busy road.

Mr Pozzi noted Italian navigational law already forbids boating within 50 metres of shore. Sports clubs' canoes are exempt from the ordinance.

Townspeople have enjoyed good-neighbour relations with Clooney and his frequent Hollywood star house guests.

The celebrity put sleepy Laglio on the tourist map. The mayor said property values for choice villas have tripled.

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