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Thousands of “love padlocks” fixed to an ancient Roman bridge by passionate couples have been sliced off with bolt cutters and dumped in a warehouse to save the bridge from damage.

Teenage lovers in Rome have for years written their initials on padlocks, locked them to Rome’s Milvian bridge and sworn eternal love for each other before hurling the key into the Tiber, a habit that has caught on at bridges around the world, particularly in Paris.

The trend, which was inspired by characters in the 2006 cult Italian teen novel I Want You by Federico Moccia, first prompted Roman officials to set up posts for the padlocks to be attached to after a lamppost threatened to collapse under their weight on the bridge.

But this week officials said enough was enough. “We decided to remove them to restore decorum to the bridge,” said local borough president Gianni Giacomini. Read more.