Hollywood heart-throb George Clooney has praised the protection he received from his Italian neighbours during the OCEAN'S TWELVE shoot on the tranquil shores of Lake Como.

The actor, who owns a $13.3 million (GBP7 million) home in the Italian village of Laglio, feared the disruption caused by filming would alienate his neighbours.

But Clooney was stunned when residents took action to stave off celebrity-hunting tourists from disturbing their famous neighbour - because they were determined to maintain some privacy for the star.

The 43-year-old says, "They were wonderful to me. Even the guy who rented out the boats in the area refused to let people take out boats if he thought they were paparazzi, or people using the boats to chase me around the lake or try to get a better view of the villa.

"It was the same thing with the restaurant owners. They didn't like it if they saw tourists coming in who wanted to take photographs or have me sign autographs while I was eating with friends. They were incredibly respectful and I felt very much at home there."

21/01/2005 13:46