The Mafia are considering a strike on Pope Francis, a senior prosecutor in southern Italy has warned.

The Pope's life is in danger due to his desire to stamp out corruption in a 'total clean up,' which is making organized crime groups 'nervous.'

In one of his first sermons after he was elected Pope he called on the mafia to repent for 'exploiting and enslaving people.'

On Monday, during a sermon, the Pope said that officials who took bribes should be “tied to a rock and thrown in the sea.”

In response, deputy chief prosecutor of the Reggio Calabria region, Nicola Gratteri has said members of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia are concerned by Pope Francis' crusade against corruption, “wearing his iron crucifix, as he rails against worldly goods and plans a total clean up”.

He told the Italian daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano: “Those that are in the financial arms of the mafia are concerned by Pope Francis, yes.

“Those who until now have been feeding off the wealth and power that comes directly from the Church are agitated and nervous.”

He added: “Papa Bergoglio [sic] is dismantling the centers of economic power in the Vatican. If the bosses could take him down they would not hesitate.”

The prosecutor said the mafia would not be capable of such a strike, considering the Vatican security are so advanced.

“I do not know if organised criminal gangs are in a position to do something, but they are certainly considering it. It's a dangerous time for Pope Francis.”

The 'Ndrangheta group is considered by experts to be one of the most dangerous in Italy.