Fines for elk sign thieves

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The Independent Travel

Police are warning visitors to rural Sweden not to steal the road signs warning drivers of elks.

Police are warning visitors to rural Sweden not to steal the road signs warning drivers of elks.

So coveted are these signs, which depict an elk on a red and orange background, that tourists travelling along the country's lonely roads have been unbolting them and taking them home as unusual souvenirs.

The Swedish police are concerned that the absence of these offbeat gifts will cost lives. They have sent out a clear message: stop nicking the signs or face high fines and up to four days in jail.

There are some half a million elks in Sweden and the chances of hitting one on rural roads are high. An astonishing 50 per cent of fatal road accidents are said to involve an elk.

Tourists will have to be satisfied instead with the ubiquitous elk bumper-stickers, which are sold at service stations across the Scandinavian country.

The beasts are becoming so popular that there is a growing trend for elk tourism in Sweden, including elk farm visits and safaris in wilder areas. But most visitors are likely to have a more gustatory encounter with the elk, which is a highly prized dish.

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