France Fire Car Burn Strasbourg New Year's
Firefighters try to extinguish a burning car torched during New Year's celebrations in Strasbourg's district of Neuhof Reuters

More than 1,000 vehicles were set ablaze on New Year's Eve in a tradition that has arisen in rundown areas of France's biggest cities including Paris and Strasbourg.

French interior minister Manuel Valls said that 2013's total marked a 10% fall on 2012, with "only" 1,067 vehicles torched compared to 1,193 last year.

Valls described the figures as a "significant decrease" and a "positive result".

The department of Seine-St-Denis, which neighbours Paris and is the poorest in France, recorded 80 vehicles set alight as the clock struck midnight.

Car-torching has become a tradition among young partygoers in poor areas. It originated near Strasbourg in the 1990s.

French authorities had stopped publishing the figures detailing the number of burnt-out cars because it led to competition between rival French gangs to see who could set fire to the most vehicles.

Three people were killed in separate knife attacks France on New Year's Eve.