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Thanksgiving Day parade lights up New York

Giant helium balloons and colourful floats glide past New York's skyscrapers at the 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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An investigation has been started after confidential police records - including documents about Mitt Romney's motorcade - were used as confetti at the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.

The shredded documents rained down on thousands of parade-goers who lined the streets to watch the parade near Central Park on New York's Upper West Side on Thursday.

Closer inspection showed the shredded strips of paper were readable and contained details about serving police officers, including their names, social security numbers and bank details as well as references to crimes in the area.

Garbage and confetti lie on the ground after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Garbage and confetti lie on the ground after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Photo: Reuters

The documents appear to have come from the Nassau County Police Department, which polices parts of Long Island, just outside New York City.

Some of the confetti strips include references to the former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's motorcade, presumably after the second presidential debate took place at Hofstra University in Nassau County last month.

Ethan Finkelstein, a university student, was at the parade when he and a friend noticed a strip of confetti on her coat. He told the Pix11 television news channel: "It landed on her shoulder, and it says 'SSN' and it's written like a social security number, and we're like, 'That's really bizarre."'

Mr Finkelstein, 18, said he and his friends found more confetti containing more apparent police records. He said; "I'm in shock. How could this kind of information be distributed at the Thanksgiving Day Parade?" Inspector Kenneth Lack, of the Nassau County Police Department, said it was reviewing procedures for the disposing of documents.

It was, however, suggested the confetti was thrown from a window overlooking the parade. A spokesman for Macy's said it used "multicoloured confetti, not shredded paper".

The Daily Telegraph, London