RIYADH (Reuters) - Morality police in southern Saudi Arabia plan to conduct raids to ensure that shops do not sell flowers, candles and gifts to those planning to celebrate New Year, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

The Arabic-language al-Watan said the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (APVPV) in Aseer province was determined to uphold a ban by the conservative Muslim kingdom on non-Muslim celebrations.

"Patrols will be dispatched to gift and flower shops in the next two days before the New Year to ensure that ornaments are not sold for New Year celebrations," al-Watan quoted the local APVPV head as saying.

The authority -- a pillar of the ultra-conservative kingdom since its founding -- had also banned Christmas ornaments from shops. It also bans shops from carrying Valentine's Day gifts.

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