Police in Venice have been accused of heavy-handed behaviour after fining a four-year-old-boy nearly 70 euros for riding his scooter in St Mark’s Square.

The little boy was riding his scooter when he was stopped by police, who issued his father with a fine for 67 euros (£60).

Toy scooters and roller skates are banned from being used in the area under by-laws.

The father was accused of allowing his son to use a “velocity accelerator” in the Piazzetta dei Leoncini – an open space adjoining the main part of St Mark’s Square, known for its two red marble lion statues.

The sanction sparked outrage on social media, with Venetians accusing the police of lacking all sense of proportion.

Venice fights a constant battle against loutish and inconsiderate behaviour by tourists, from jumping into canals to eating snacks in public places, but locals said the crackdown on a child was taking zero tolerance too far.

“How sad. Miserable coppers,” said one woman on Facebook, using a Venetian dialect nickname, “ghebi”, for the police.

Another local wrote that police should have just given the father a verbal warning.

“The fine seems to me to be absurd, over-the-top,” said Monica Sambo, a city councilor from the centre-Left opposition Democratic Party.

“St Mark’s Square cannot be allowed to become a playground, but what harm was this child doing?”

The boy’s father said he would seek legal advice and lodge an appeal against the fine.

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