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Mexican cops offer Xboxes for guns

Ne'er-do-wells trade shoot-'em-ups

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Mexican ne'er-do-wells are being offered the chance to trade their traditional shoot-'em-ups for a less lethal alternative, Reuters reports.

Mexico City's newly-elected mayor Marcelo Ebrard has decided to purge the city's mean streets by dishing out cash or a free Xbox for every handgun, while anyone surrendering a heavy calibre-weapon, such as a machine gun, will earn a shiny new PC.

Ebrard launched the initiative yesterday in the "notorious inner-city barrio of Tepito" - a "warren of scruffy homes and market stalls a few blocks north of the capital's main square". Police last month invaded Tepito, storming a tenement known locally as "The Fortress" and reputed to be the hub of "major cocaine and marijuana distribution" operations.

The guns-for-Xboxes organisers say they've got 100 computers ready to go. Each is worth 8,500 pesos ($769) and comes "equipped with software donated by Microsoft". The first day of the scheme saw 17 guns handed over, including a dozen from Tepito.

If the cunning plan proves successful, it will be extended to Iztapalapa - another miscreant-packed barrio also visited by police who last week "expropriated a six-block neighborhood filled with stores selling parts torn from stolen cars". ®

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