Italy police

Officials in Italy have dissolved five councils in the southern region of Calabria over their connections to organised crime.

All councillors in the towns of Lamezia Terme, Cassano all'Ionio, Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Marina di Gioiosa Ionica and Petronà were suspended by the Italian government after allegations were raised about their dealings with the mafia.

The council in Lamezia Terme has been disbanded twice before, firstly in 1991 and then again in 2002 after repeated questions over their links to the mafia group, known as 'Ndrangheta.

Throughout 2017, several other councils have been suspended, with the latest taking the total number up to 21.

But that number represents just 10% of those that have been disbanded since 1991 with around 200 councils temporarily suspended over mob links.

Organised crime has a high level of influence in certain areas of Italy, particularly in the south.

When a council is dissolved, the Italian government appoints appoints commissions to take over the running of the town.

However, in some cases, it takes years before elected officials are returned to the running of local councils.

The district of Ostia in Rome spent two years without elected councillors until fresh elections in November 2017.