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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Gendarmes round up 'dodgy dentists'
French police say they have smashed a ring of fake dentists offering unlicensed, low-cost treatment in cafes and shops.

Twenty-three suspects - all Syrian nationals - were detained in Paris along with their suitcases of dental equipment after a lengthy investigation.

Carrying battery-operated drills and other tools of their trade, the "suitcase dentists" offered to pull and fill teeth for as little as a quarter of what qualified practitioners usually charge.

Moving from one backroom venue to the next, they served a largely immigrant clientele that lacked health insurance or the money to pay for private treatment.

However police got on their trail when a customer developed a jaw infection after being treated by one of the travelling dentists, and filed a complaint.

Surveillance revealed that members of the group were operating out of a hotel in the Batignolles district, and early on Wednesday 100 gendarmes raided the premises.

The suspects were taken into custody and are expected to be charged with practising a profession without a licence.


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